Big snow dump for south Island, wind warning

Count on another wallop of snow in the capital region, along with a transition to rain at lower elevations by Thursday. 

Temperatures will stay cold for a little longer, said Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan. “We’ve got the Arctic front on the doorstep.”

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On Tuesday night, Greater Victoria, the Malahat, the Gulf Islands, Port Renfrew, Lake Cowichan and the Duncan-to-Nanaimo area had snowfall that was heavy at times. 

Some areas of the capital region could see 10 to 20 centimetres by Wednesday morning, while 20 to 30 centimetres was forecast for Duncan to Nanaimo and inland Vancouver Island, Environment Canada said in a snowfall warning.

An additional 10 to 15 centimetres of snow could fall on the southern Island today.

Environment Canada also issued a wind warning for Greater Victoria on this evening.

By Thursday, the wind is expected to ease, and the snow could end for locations near sea level, such as downtown Victoria. “We’re going to see that transition to rain and then things are going to taper off Friday night through to Sunday evening,” Castellan said.

But snow could still appear in the Sooke foothills, parts of the West Shore and the Malahat, as well as locations farther up the east coast of the Island, he said.

Daytime temperatures are expected to jump from 3 C today to 9 on Saturday, 8 on Sunday and 9 on Monday.

B.C. Hydro said the cold spell, with Greater Victoria temperatures as low as -5, led to a new peak hourly demand for electricity on Monday at 10,302 megawatts, up from the previous record of 10,194 set in 2017.

At least 100 vehicle owners from the Vancouver Island Toyota 4X4 Club have offered their services to Island Health to get doctors, nurses and other staff to work. Rides are available for patients, too.

Club member Shelby Newcombe said he got a few people to work Tuesday morning and had more pickups to do after his own workday was done.

“I’ve got to get someone from Saanich Peninsula Hospital and bring her back to Sooke, and then come back and get another lady from VGH and bring her back to Langford.”

A Facebook page has been set up to connect vehicle owners with people needing rides. The page has about 1,000 members, including the drivers and prospective passengers.

“We kind of have the city to ourselves when it snows, so we figured we might as well help people out,” said Newcombe, who noted that there was a similar effort from the club last year, but the 2020 version is a little more organized. “It’s worked out really well so far.”

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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