After facing lengthy waits in traffic in subzero temperatures, commuters have expressed concern about snowfall in this week's Metro Vancouver weather forecast.
But the national weather forecaster isn't calling for a snow event on the scale of the one seen earlier this week. That said, commuters should prepare for the worst as temperatures plunge, creating icy conditions on untreated roads.
Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for the region on Wednesday as increasing outflow winds have produced windchill values ranging from -5 C to -10 C and even -15 C over the eastern Fraser Valley.
A new weather statement was issued Thursday (Dec. 1) afternoon and Environment Canada meteorologist Alyssa Charbonneau told Vancouver Is Awesome that temperatures are expected to plunge overnight.
Seasonal averages for this time of year are around 7 C for a daytime high with a low of 1 C overnight. On Thursday, however, temperatures are expected to drop down to -6 C overnight in the city which will feel like -12 C with windchill.
"Tomorrow, we have another chance of potentially seeing some snow with a system coming off the coast," she said.
While the forecast includes "snow mixed with rain beginning in the afternoon," there is a potential for snow or rain heading into the night as temperatures sit near freezing, notes Charbonneau.
But the amounts of snowfall aren't expected to be as heavy as they were on Tuesday.
"This storm is a little bit further off the coast of Vancouver Island so that moisture just isn't quite as heavy over us," she explained. "Higher elevations, such as the North Shore mountains, might see more snow out of this."
There still is a chance of snowfall at sea level but accumulations wouldn't be much higher than 5 cm or so, Charbonneau added, noting that the conditions may impact evening commutes.
Ya we weren't ready for snow pic.twitter.com/bEcn4ELBsX— Vik☃️❄️⛸️ Vancity Canuck 92 You Think You Know Me (@VancitySaggu) November 30, 2022
Metro Vancouver weather forecast at the start of December
Heading into next week, Environment Canada expects a "gradual warming of temperatures" but they will still fall below the seasonal averages.
"So for the time being we're staying cooler than normal," she said.
As long as temperatures stay cooler than normal, there is a potential for snowfall next week, too. There will likely be slippery conditions on roads due to snow and temperatures near freezing; there is also a risk of freezing rain.
Drivers should always prepare for the worst when heading out during inclement conditions or if they need to drive through mountain passes. They should have an emergency kit along with nonperishable food items, extra clothing, blankets, and a shovel.
As for whether there's a higher chance locals will wake up to a white Christmas this year, Charbonneau said it is too soon to tell.
"It would truly be a guess at this point," she laughed.
Find out the probability of the city having a snowy holiday using this infographic.