Snow blankets Cowichan Valley, more on the way

Depending on where you live in the Cowichan Valley, you could be looking at either rain or more snow Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Depending on where you live in the Cowichan Valley, you could be looking at either rain or more snow Friday, Saturday and Sunday, according to Environment Canada.

Armel Castellan, meteorologist said Friday morning that the snow forecasts have been pretty well on the money for the Island so far.

But now, a degree or two, or a slight difference in elevation above sea level is going to affect how long your pre-Christmas white stuff will last.

“It’s going to be a lot easier if you are not right on the water. There’s going to be a transition to rain,” he said.

There’s been plenty of snow in some areas, as promised. The Cowichan Valley School District declared a “snow day” Friday, to the delight of students and many staffers, too.

By the numbers are clear that higher up meant more snow.

Shawnigan Lake had an accumulation of 13 cm by midmorning, on the Malahat they were reporting with at least 10 cm and Ladysmith 10 cm, with Lake Cowichan at 15 cm at least.

“The elevation keeps things cold enough and there’s then the little bit of enhancement with the orographic nature of being in the hills. That makes all the difference. Down in Vic West where I live, we even got 6 cm overnight which validates our warning criteria of five centimetres in six hours,” according to Castellan

On what’s up next, it’s a real mixed bag, he said.

“Behind this system, everything is kind of losing its strength in a way. The first pulses are more or less over but behind it is really unstable.

“We’re going to continue to see flurries and bands of precipitation throughout the day Friday so I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw a few more centimetres, especially at height. That’s with the caveat that right along the water, it will be warmer and there will be coastal places from Victoria to up past Nanaimo where chances are very good that they’ll get rain for both Friday and Saturday. We’re still on that threshold, so there are still going to be some good accumulations with those more intense bands of snow/rain for some areas.”

Then everyone will see their precipitation fall off.


“By Saturday, we’ll see rain on and off in an intermittent sense, with temperatures a degree warmer still. So, it will be really only at elevation where the snow will remain. Below that, it will fall as rain. Then, it’s mostly just showers on Sunday, but of what will depend again.”

Next week, get those woollies out, he warned.

“Then it will be really interesting because we’ll be going into a relative deep freeze for the south coast of B.C., even more so than the last couple of days.

“It was obviously colder than normal then but we’re going to be seeing temperatures of down to -8 or -10 C overnight with maybe highs of even below zero. That will be quite fresh, but from Monday onward to at least Friday, it doesn’t look like very much in the way of any kind of precipitation. That’s what happens. The ridge builds and then flows out to the coast and if storms aren’t meeting it, there’s the opportunity for that cold air to remain and be dry and fairly clear,” he continued.

Castellan predicted that higher points in the Valley could be very scenic.

“It’s going to be stunningly beautiful up at Lake Cowichan. I’m jealous actually. For sure in the Cowichan Valley there will be more of a sense of crystal beauty,” he said.

BC Hydro reported Friday that demand for electricity reached a new high for 2016 as freezing temperatures continue.

Between 5 and 6 p.m. on Thursday, a new record was set for usage province wide.

Electricity demand increased by 18 per cent. That’s nearly 1,500 megawatts higher than last Thursday’s peak demand. The record set in November 2006 of 10,113 megawatts remains firmly in place but BC Hydro expects demand will remain higher than normal as the cold weather continues.

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