2010 11 29
Vancouver – Winter Weather at its Worst
A Climatologist in Seattle, Washington has predicted that Vancouver, British Columbia is in for its worst winter in 50 years this winter. Ocean currents in the Pacific Ocean have shown to be the coldest in 50 years, and that is a big factor in producing a La Nina year. When a La Nina year occurs statistics from previous years have shown that a colder, snowier, longer winter is in the forecast. However according to some meteorologists who work in Vancouver all the talk about Metro Vancouver being in for it’s worst winter in 50 years is speculation and a stretch of truth.
Environment Canada Media Spokesperson and Warning Preparedness Meteorologist David Jones is in disagreement with Washington State Climatologist Nick Bonds prediction that this will be the worst winter in 50 years.
“It’s been blown out of proportion; you can’t make a prediction beyond seven days. La Nina doesn’t guarantee anything.”
Jones was willing to predict that the effects that a La Nina year might bring to Metro Vancouver could start to show up in January. When the colder temperatures do arrive they could last well into May and June of next year.
If you’re a fan of snow blizzards, ice storms, and extreme whiteout conditions this could be the year for that to happen.
“You can get those kinds of conditions in any year”
For everyone who thinks that a La Nina year means Metro Vancouver is in for a snowy white Christmas David Jones warns that it’s still too early to make that prediction.
CTV BC Meteorologist Jesse Mason has a different opinion on the predicted worst winter to hit Metro Vancouver in 50 years. As a meteorologist Mason is excited by the prediction.
“Summer is very nice but its boring weather to cover.”
In a normal winter season Mason usually sees 1 or 2 arctic outbreaks that come down from Northern BC to Metro Vancouver. When that happens precipitation from the Pacific Ocean mixes with the cold arctic air to produce snow.
“Nine times out of ten snow starts with an arctic out flow. That’s a major ingredient.”
Although it is impossible to predict the amount of snow that might fall this winter Mason believes that Metro Vancouver could see double or triple the amount of snow that it usually sees in a normal winter.
When that snow does fall Mason thinks that the City of Vancouver is not well equipped to handle the large amount of snow.
“We don’t see enough snow for the city to be very well prepared.”
Meteorologists David Jones and Jesse Mason both agree that currents and temperatures in the Pacific Ocean have loaded the deck for Metro Vancouver to have a less than normal winter this season. However colder and snowier by how much appears to be the real question that nobody has the answer to just yet. It could be colder by just one Celsius this winter and Metro Vancouver could receive all of its snow in one large dump of 60cm or 5cm of snow could fall each week for a month and spread out the winter snow fall total.
In order to be prepared for whatever might fall from the sky this winter you should get your snow tires put on now and hunker down at home if you think it too dangerous to go out.
One of the things main concerns during winter weather, colder temperatures, and shorter days, is electricity consumption and the huge increase that occurs. In Metro Vancouver BC Hydro sees an electricity consumption increase of 15% during the winter months.
BC Hydro Residential Marketing Manager Patrick Mathot has some advice for Metro Vancouverites who are looking to keep their electricity consumption down this winter.
“You can insulate your house, and you should keep your blinds and drapes closed because windows account for thirty percent of heat loss in a house.”
The peak time of day for electricity consumption is between 4pm – 9pm. If you are going to use your dishwasher, washer, dryer, or anything else that takes up lot’s of electricity BC Hydro hopes that you do so during those non peak hours.
The biggest miss conception Mathot hears about electricity consumption is that BC Hydro exports a large amount of electricity south of the border.
“People think we have an abundance of electricity that we important to California, we actually import more electricity than we export.”
That’s one of the many reasons why BC Hydro hopes all Metro Vancouverites stay warm, safe, and power smart during this potentially devastating winter.
Metro Vancouver is in for a winter that will not be as wonderful as last year’s Olympic winter. Nobody knows for certain how much snow Metro Vancouver will get so make sure you have an emergency kit in all your vehicles. Invest in plenty of candles, canned foods, and blankets in case your power goes out and stay tuned to weather reports because it’s going to be an adventure in Metro Vancouver this winter.