B.C. officially transitions into winter Tuesday morning at 7:59 am and it is certainly going to feel like it. There are winter storm watches, snowfall warnings in effect, including concerns about freezing rain.
A winter storm watch is in effect for the Fraser Valley, Howe Sound, Inland sections of Vancouver Island, the Coquihalla between Hope and Merritt and Highway 3 between Hope and Princeton.
These regions are expecting between five to 15 centimeters of snow Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning.
In addition, there is a concern about significant freezing rain.
Environment Canada explains, “Frigid outflow winds pouring out of the B.C. interior will allow surface temperatures to remain below freezing. As a result a prolonged period of freezing rain is forecast.”
Hazardous road conditions are possible late Tuesday into Wednesday morning with ice, slush and/or snow.
Power outages are also possible as heavy wet snow or thick layers of freezing rain can break branches.
Meanwhile, a special weather statement is in effect for Metro Vancouver, the Sunshine Coast and eastern sections of Vancouver Island as snow and freezing rain is also possible. Up to four centimeters of snow could fall by Wednesday morning.
Freezing rain warnings may be issued Tuesday. Non-essential travel should be avoided. Check with Drive BC before heading out.
In the long range, concerns are growing for a prolonged period of extreme cold.
It is still several days out and exact temperatures and timing could change. However, there is enough confidence in the general forecast to be warning the public about the danger.
At this time, the forecast shows an arctic outbreak is expected to occur across B.C. beginning Christmas Day through the early part of next week.
Coastal regions could see temperatures drop to 10 to 15 degrees below average.
Daytime highs in Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley could range from minus two to minus eight degrees Celsius. While overnight lows could range from minus 10 to minus 15. Windchill will also be a factor.
Meanwhile, regions in the Interior could experience temperatures between 15 to 20 degrees below average with some daytime highs reaching only minus 20 degrees.
Tune in to Global BC News and BC1 for further updates in the days to come.