UPDATE: It may be a white Christmas for Cowichan Valley; many snowed in Tuesday

Plows were out Tuesday morning, not as fast as people would have liked, but they were all over town trying to keep up with the snowfall. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Heavy snow took down branches and power lines in the Cowichan Valley on Tuesday morning. (Andrea Rondeau/Citizen)
Fast-accumulating snow had many people taking a day off work on Tuesday. (Andrea Rondeau/Citizen)
Heavy snow took down branches and power lines in the Cowichan Valley on Tuesday morning. (Andrea Rondeau/Citizen)
Snow slammed into the Cowichan Valley Tuesday morning. Will it be a white Christmas? (Andrea Rondeau/Citizen) Snow slammed into the Cowichan Valley Tuesday morning. Will it be a white Christmas? (Andrea Rondeau/Citizen)

Many parts of the Cowichan Valley just may have a white Christmas after all. The first snow of the season has fallen.

Matt MacDonald, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, was right when he said the Valley could expect cold rain Monday night, with snow to begin mixed with rain early Tuesday morning.

Upon waking Tuesday morning, the streets of downtown Duncan were covered in the white stuff, much of it heavy and hard to shovel as opposed to the dry fun-to-play-in type of snow.

The power was on and off in many areas throughout the Cowichan region with 1,300 customers affected in the Cowichan Bay area and a further 700 without power east of Duncan towards Lake Cowichan.

There was also a power outage in Shawnigan Lake affecting another 744 homes. In total, BC Hydro says there were almost 10,000 customers without power Tuesday morning.

MacDonald said elevations above 200 metres, including the Cowichan Lake area, could receive between five and 15 centimetres of snow by Tuesday afternoon, while areas closer to the ocean should get less snow, and some may get just a trace.

MacDonald said the Valley will get a break on Wednesday, with sun forecast and temperatures around 4 C.

“But the temperatures will drop below zero Wednesday night, and then Arctic air from the Yukon will arrive Thursday,” he said.

“The cold air will pour through the inland valleys on the mainland and come across the Strait of Georgia, creating a strait-effect on eastern Vancouver Island that will bring cold weather and snow with it.”

MacDonald said the amount of snow each area of the Valley will receive is variable.

He said the snow will arrive in narrow bands that will cause intense flurries in the areas where the bands are, while other nearby areas may just see some flurries or no snow at all.

“Those areas where the bands are could get five to 10 centimetres of snow in just a few hours,” MacDonald said.

“Unlike earlier in the week, the amount of snow that will fall during this period is not dependent on height, but on proximity to the ocean,” he added.

“People should watch out for black ice and make sure they have scrappers for their cars handy.”

MacDonald said the cold air is expected to stay in place through Christmas and into the new year, with temperatures hovering around 0 C during the day and dropping to approximately -7 C at night, but the forecast is for little or no precipitation and mostly sunny skies beginning Friday.


robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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