British Columbia Daily Snow

Heads up, there may be fresher snow! Read the latest British Columbia Daily Snow

By Alan Smith, Meteorologist Posted 2 months ago December 9, 2023

Weekend Freshies

Summary

Many ski resorts either just opened on Friday or are opening this weekend, and resorts in the eastern part of BC are enjoying deep powder from the most recent storm. Another storm on Saturday will bring widespread moderate snow totals throughout BC, followed by a secondary disturbance that will bring another refresh to the Interior on Sunday PM. Next week, we will head into a drier pattern.

Short Term Forecast

Forecast Summary:

  1. A storm will bring snow to all of BC on Saturday with totals ranging from 10-25 cm across the Coast Range and 2-15 cm for the Interior.

  2. Coast Range skiing conditions will be best on Saturday PM before snow levels rise on Sunday AM.

  3. Interior skiing conditions will be best on Sunday AM and temperatures will stay cold (and snow levels low) through Sunday.

  4. A secondary disturbance will bring more snow showers to the Interior on Sunday PM and overnight, with another refresh for Monday AM skiers.

  5. Next week's pattern looks mostly dry aside from a weak storm on Wed PM-Thu AM.

Current Conditions and Recent Powder Shots:

The last storm delivered deep totals to Eastern BC on Thursday and Friday, just in time for opening day at Kicking Horse and Panorama, while Big White also enjoyed some opening day freshies.

Check out the opening day scenes at Panorama (who received a storm total of 43 cm) and Kicking Horse (who received a storm total of 23 cm).

Fernie closed temporarily on Thursday due to rain, but then 50+ cm of snow fell on Thursday PM-Friday AM and the mountain re-opened with deep conditions.

Forecast for Saturday AM to Monday AM:

A storm will move across BC on Saturday-Saturday night, bringing widespread snow to all major ski regions. A trailing weaker disturbance will bring another refresh to the Interior from Sunday PM to early Monday AM.

Let's dive into the details by region...

Coast Range & Whistler:

Snow began over Vancouver Island early on Saturday morning with Mt. Washington reporting 2 cm. Snow will pick up at Whistler and the remainder of the Coast Range by late Saturday AM with the heaviest snowfall rates expected on Saturday afternoon.

Snow levels will be low through the daytime hours, ranging from 150-450 meters (500-1500 ft.), and snow quality will be powdery.

Winds will be strong in Whistler's alpine terrain on Saturday with gusts of 80-100 km/hr. 

Snow will continue into the early evening hours, but will taper off to light showers overnight. Warmer air will arrive at the end of this storm overnight with snow levels rising to 900 meters (3k feet) by first thing Sunday morning with any lingering showers.

Snow totals on Saturday-Saturday night will range from 10-20 cm (4-8") at Whistler and Mt. Washington, and 12-25 cm (5-10") at the North Shore resorts, Sasquatch Mountain, and Manning Park.

The best skiing conditions will be during the storm on Saturday afternoon when the heaviest snowfall rates are expected, and before the warm-up occurs by Sunday morning.

Scattered light snow showers can be expected on Sunday as a weak disturbance moving into the Interior brushes the Coast Range.

Whistler's mid to upper mountain could pick up another trace-5 cm (trace-2") on Sunday, while the base of Whistler as well as the North Shore resorts will see a rain/snow mix. Snow levels on Sunday will range from 1050-1350 meters (3.5-4.5k feet).

Manning Park could pick up another 5-10 cm (2-4") on Sunday but they are not opening for the season until next weekend.

Interior & Powder Highway:

Saturday will start out mostly dry aside from some flurries, then snow will start to pick up across western areas (Okanagan region to Revelstoke) on Saturday afternoon with most of the snow falling overnight on Saturday night.

Winds will become strong at the leading edge of this storm on Saturday, with gusts to 60-80 km/hr across the higher terrain. 

The jet stream has trended a little further north with the highest accumulations expected in the Cariboo Range, but the Powder Highway Region will still see a nice round of snow overnight with a large band of snow working its way from north to south through the night. 

Snow will be low-density blower pow with cold air in place and snow levels will be at valley bottoms.

Snow Totals – While not a huge event, I'm expecting moderate snow totals to favor Revelstoke, Kicking Horse, Whitewater, and Fernie. Here is my forecast through Sunday AM:

And here is a projection from a blend of weather models:

On Sunday, we will see mainly isolated flurries through the morning hours. A secondary disturbance is now projected to move through from later Sunday afternoon through Sunday night with snow showers picking back up.

Temperatures will trend a little bit warmer during Sunday night's wave, but snow quality will remain fairly dry and powdery (even if slightly higher density than Saturday night) and snow levels will remain at valley bottoms.

Winds aloft during Sunday PM's wave will be out of the west/northwest with a band of snow reaching the Northern Powder Highway before gradually weakening by the time it reaches the U.S. border.

I'm expecting Revelstoke and Kicking Horse to be favored on the northern end, while west/northwest winds are also favorable for Apex and Big White so these areas should pick up some fresh even with the overall weakening trend as the snowfall moves southward. 

Here is what I'm expecting from Sunday AM through Monday AM:

And here is a projection from the high-res Canadian Model:

Most of Sunday's accumulations are expected after lifts close, so plan on heading back out on Monday morning for more fresh turns. 

Northern BC:

The northern ranges will see widespread snow on Saturday and Saturday night before most areas dry out on Sunday except for the Cariboo Range which will pick up additional light accumulations from the secondary disturbance.

Snow totals from Saturday AM to Sunday AM will range from 10-20 cm (4-8") at Shames Mountain, Powder King, and Hudson Bay Mountain. South/southwest winds during the day on Saturday are favorable for Hudson Bay Mountain as the shadow effect of the Coast Range is minimized compared to usual.

The Skeena Range should also pick up some nice totals from this storm and snow quality will be dry and powdery. 

Extended Forecast

Next week's pattern is looking pretty quiet. A weak storm is expected on Wednesday PM-Thursday AM but only light snow (a few centimeters) is expected for the Coast Range and Interior as the storm will fall apart as it moves inland. 

Snow levels should stay low across the Interior but will be high enough across the Coast Range for a rain/snow mix at the North Shore Mountains and the bottom of Whistler.

Another weak storm is possible around December 17th-18th as a trough of low pressure approaches the West Coast. However, most of the energy is expected to track well to the south into the Southwest U.S. with only a weak disturbance reaching the Coast Range.

Longer range models are indicating a somewhat more active pattern heading into the week of December 19th. But it doesn't look that great for significant or consistent storms either, and temperatures are expected to be warmer than average. I'm hoping we'll eventually start to see some better trends in the longer range, but I'm not seeing it yet. 

Thanks so much for reading! I'll have a short post on Sunday morning with updated snow totals and an updated outlook on Sunday PM snowfall.

Alan Smith 

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About Our Forecaster

Alan Smith

Meteorologist

Alan Smith received a B.S. in Meteorology from Metropolitan State University of Denver and has been working in the private sector since 2013. When he’s not watching the weather from the office, Alan loves to spend time outdoors skiing, hiking, and mountain biking, and of course keeping an eye on the sky for weather changes while recreating.

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