Update 9:30PM – Models still split but the most reliable ones say rain, not snow.
Here are the various runs as of now:
It seems to indicate that there is more chance of snow, but the highest resolution ones, including the UWash below, say no snow for most areas of the Alberni Valley. It is much more likely at higher elevations and maybe in the Nanaimo area.
At this point, we’ll just have to see what happens. The flurries, if they are going to happen will start by 8AM and end around noon. Unless things really go nuts and it lasts all day, then everything is out the window. 🙂
Fingers Crossed! 🙂
UPDATE 12:30PM – Snow depends on how hard it rains – Potential messy Travel day especially Hump/Sutton/East Coast.
Had this passed on to me from a forecaster in Vancouver:
— Chris Doyle (@ensembleator) December 16, 2015
It shows snow falling at the Alberni Airport location all day tomorrow, but not much. Only 2cm between 6AM Thursday and Friday noon. (20mm on the scale there). The UWash model still doesn’t agree even though all the other American and Canadian insist we will get up to 20cm of snow Thursday and into Friday!
However, it is definitely going to be ugl for those travelling over the Sutton Pass or possibly the Hump (certainly the East side?).
And the story on the East Coast is a little more serious, the latest models from UWash have quite a bunch of snow (4in/10-15cm?) predicted to fall though ironically there is less agreement between the models on the East Coast situation than in Port Alberni.
It seems that it will all depend on the rate of rainfall. The harder it rains, the more likely it will fall as snow and accumulate.
So no matter what, be prepared.
As is often the case when we hover around the 1-2°C mark, the models and the forecasters are having a hard time trying to figure out if we are going to have rain, snow, flurries, sleet, or even freezing rain. None of it is very certain.
I am leaning toward the side of not getting anything more than maybe some extra thick raindrops on Thursday morning. We have not been below zero all week and there is no hint of Arctic outflow or any other source of freezing temperatures that would give us the conditions for snow to fall or especially stick except at higher elevations (Sutton Pass, deepest Beaver Creek, Sproat Lake, etc)
The best thing to do seems to be to let you know when the most likely time for snow will be if it does fall. That time is between about 4AM and 10AM Thursday morning, with the greatest likelihood in the 7-10AM period.
Here is the UWash picture for that time:
Other models and the EC forecast have anywhere from 5-20cm of snow predicted. I would go with the EC forecast and expect that much in sheltered valley and high elevation areas but not at sea level.
That said, if it rains unusually hard it could pull down the snow level and cause the larger amounts, but that chance seems very remote.
In the end, it will be gone before the weekend anyway as the rain takes over for good. Long story short, if you really want a guarantee on snow, head up the mountain. There should be plenty up there. 🙂