Two-week Cold Spell Coming to an End
Prince George, B.C. – The cold spell experienced in much of British Columbia over the past two weeks is about to vanish, resulting in much more seasonal temperatures.
Environment Canada meteorologist Ross Macdonald says “we’re going to warm things up a little bit here. We’ve had very, very cold temperatures the last couple of weeks withy the cold arctic air entrenched right across the province. We’re going to see that come to an end as we’ll see a bit more of a westerly push and some milder maritime air is going to make its way right across most of the province come Sunday and into Monday.”
Macdonald says we’ve been getting daytime highs in the minus 20s “but come Sunday we’re going to start to see a weather system pushing onto the coast and start to spread some milder air into the interior. It’ll take a little bit of time to kind of flush out that cold arctic air but we are expecting the daytime highs to get closer to minus 2 and minus 1 for Sunday.”
Skiers and snowmobilers will be happy to hear Macdonald’s advisory that “as the change comes, though, will come a little bit of precipitation as well, so some snow is expected on Sunday as well.” As far as amounts go he says “for snowfall amounts through Prince George we’re looking for Sunday for anywhere between 5 and 10 centimetres at this point.”
“In addition, once we kind of open this change in the weather pattern we’re going to get another system that will push through on Monday as well, so likely seeing some more snow on Monday and perhaps even into Tuesday. So additional amounts come Monday and Tuesday of 5 to 10 centimetres as well.” Macdonald also says that with the fairly quick turnaround from cold to much warmer temperatures there is also the possibility that we’ll see some freezing rain mixed in with the snow.
Despite the lengthy cold snap it does not appear any low temperature records were broken. “Well it’s really tough,” Macdonald says “we’re looking back at some of the data, specifically for Prince George, in terms of breaking overnight low minimum temperature records and really we’ve been cold and I think the real story is the prolonged cold spell that we’ve had.”
He says looking at records over a 30-year period, “typically in December we see about four days with lows lower than -20, and I don’t need to tell you that we have higher numbers than that. Actually, as of Friday morning we hit our tenth day with lows lower than -20, so it’s been a pretty good cold snap.”
Macdonald says “In terms of breaking any daily records though we’ve been certainly cold but we need to actually be even colder, if you can believe it. To break those records we probably need it to push into the low -30s or even -40s. We weren’t quite there.”
He does acknowledge that “it’s been a little while since we’ve seen a good push of arctic air right through the province and go through all of B.C., not just Prince George and the central interior but penetrate the valleys of the southern interior as well as all the way to the coast and be a snow-maker for some of the Metro Vancouver and Victoria areas.”
The BC Coroner’s Service says the province-wide cold period may be responsible for at least three deaths this month, two in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and one in the upper Fraser Valley. All three deaths are under investigation.
For the week ahead in the Prince George area Macdonald says “it looks like we’re out of any risk of heading back into the deep freeze that we’ve seen for the past couple of weeks. I think we’re going to stay relatively balmy in comparison to what we’ve seen. Certainly with temperatures much more seasonal, averaging out at this time of year to -4 as a daytime high and -12 as an overnight low.”
“We’re going to see those more seasonal norms right through the week heading into Christmas eve and Christmas Day.”