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Winter begins in Vancouver


It's going to be a green Christmas in Vancouver this year. Click the image for a look at how people feel about the start of winter.
It's going to be a green Christmas in Vancouver this year. Click the image for a look at how people feel about the start of winter.

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

December 22, 2010 — How do people in Vancouver feel about the start of the winter season?

Conditions were overcast in Vancouver on the first day of winter
Conditions were overcast in Vancouver on the first day of winter

While most of Canada copes with intense snowstorms and bitterly cold temperatures, people living on the coast of British Columbia usually experience more forgiving winters.

Still, not everyone is necessarily looking forward to the season.

We asked one man on the streets of Vancouver how he felt about winter's arrival on Tuesday. “A little depressed, I guess,” was his response.

“It's part of the natural cycle of seasons,” sighed another Vancouver resident. “Makes me feel better though, cause from now on we're getting closer to summer!”

This winter, temperatures are expected to be below normal for northern and central BC, while the south coastal areas and interior will be near normal. Most of the province can expect near normal precipitation, but the south interior and coastal BC will be wetter than usual.

Vancouver's winter got off to a different start in December 2008
Vancouver's winter got off to a different start in December 2008

There's plenty of rain in store for the first week of winter, but it could be worse. At this time in 2008, people in Vancouver were busy digging out from record snowfall. In fact, the month of December in 2008 was the city's snowiest month ever, with more than 3 feet accumulating by the time all was said and done.

Another start to winter that many Vancouverites won't soon forget is that of 1996. On December 29, 41 cm of snow fell on the city, setting an all-time one-day snowfall record. Drivers struggled to cope with the unfamiliar snow, and deicing crews at Vancouver International could not keep up.

That same storm brought almost a metre of snow to Victoria International in just a few days. It was more than twice the airport's average for an entire year. For the first time since 1916, the army was called in to help deal with the snow. On December 29, Victoria reported 64.5 cm of snow - not only breaking the city's all time 24-hour record, but also breaking those of Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa by more than 15 cm.

Still, it's not just snow that has crippled Vancouver at this time of year. On December 15, 2006, hurricane-force gusts toppled thousands of trees in Stanley Park. The park was closed to the public for days over concerns that unstable trees would topple onto roads and paths. Debris falling from cliffs overhead damaged the seawall. Some parts did not reopen until almost a year later. The restoration cost millions of dollars.

Wondering what to expect in Vancouver this week? Be sure to check your local forecast. We also have a detailed look at this upcoming season in The Weather Network's Winter Outlook 2010 / 2011.

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