Jill Colton, staff writer
January 15, 2011 — A low pressure system is spreading snow over the central and northern coasts. The same pattern has also drenched the southern coast with heavy rain.
It's gearing up to be a busy weather weekend for British Columbia as both snow and rain inundate different parts of the coast.
A system swirling out in the Pacific tracked inland on Thursday evening, resulting in heavy snowfall. By the time the low pushes through, between 20 to 30 cm will have fallen. Warnings were issued for the northern and central coasts. There's a chance that the cold air will change over to rain over the central region, which could seriously hamper driving conditions.
Cold arctic air combined with northeasterly winds is slicing through the northern coast-inland sections. Mainland inlets and valleys of the north coast could potentially see gusts of up to 90 km/h. Additionally, the winds could produce wind chill values near minus 40 tonight over some northern areas including, the Northern Peace Region.
As for the southern coasts, the same system has been bringing heavy bands of rain. Warnings have been in effect for several communities. Between 30 to 60 mm could drench places like Chilliwack by the time the system lets up.
The hard-hitting rains may have contributed to a small rockslide that closed the eastbound lanes of the Trans-Canada Highway early Friday morning. Approximately 37 km was shut down because of debris. The B.C. Highways Ministry said that water was pooling on Highway 1 around Chilliwack. Crews worked to clear the rubble and had the highway fully re-opened by Friday afternoon.
It's been a busy weather week for the southern coast. Heavy snow blanketed Vancouver and Victoria leading to travel disruptions and hazardous roads. Then, mild air swept through resulting in rain. The soggy conditions helped to melt most of the snow.
Meanwhile, fresh snow in the higher elevations is keeping the avalanche risk high for most of the mountains in southern B.C. Those venturing in the backcountry should exercise extreme caution.
To keep up to date on your weather forecast check out our British Columbia cities index.