It looks as though we will see some snow on the North Shore Mountains this weekend! We might even get lucky and see close to 40 cm of snow with the snow line starting out close town – meaning the snow quality might be decent. If you’re thinking about skiing or enjoying the fresh snow then Sunday is the day to do it because it probably won’t last.

Forecast snowfall for Sunday and rain for Monday and Tuesday. This model only shows around 25 cm but other models show as much as 40 cm.
Forecast snowfall for Sunday and rain for Monday and Tuesday. This model only shows around 25 cm but other models show as much as 40 cm.

On Sunday night or early Monday morning the freezing level shoots up to 2000 or 2500 m (way above the North Shore summits). It will get warm and the heavy precipitation will continue. On Monday and Tuesday we could see over 100 mm of rain wash away all the fresh snow. This will probably leave us with a pretty grim snow scene on the North Shore once again.

Freezing levels spike well above the North Shore summits late on Sunday or Monday morning.
Freezing levels spike well above the North Shore summits late on Sunday or Monday morning.

We just can’t win this season. The weather pattern keeps flip-flopping from cold and dry to warm and wet, and bot scenarios are bad for North Shore snow. So far this season we have seen at least 3 Arctic Outbreaks, where some winters we don’t see any cold Arctic air on the Coast. We’ve also endured several Pineapple Express events – the most notable being the 400 mm soaker in mid-December. When will we see the Aleutian Low pressure centre start to spin weather systems our way. This is the kind of flow pattern we need for good North Shore snow.

Example of a Pineapple Express hitting us just before Christmas.
Example of a Pineapple Express hitting us just before Christmas.
Arctic Outbreak with cold air pushes southwest toward the BC Coast.
Arctic Outbreak with cold air pushes southwest toward the BC Coast.

The average local snow depth is at or very close to record low for Jan. 1 (which was last year for most stations). However, things can change quickly. Maybe winter just arrives a month later now? Last winter we had record low snow depths on Jan 1 but by early spring there was over 3 m on the ground. Let’s hope this incoming weather is only a brief blip and we will finally start to see some snow accumulate (and stick around) on the local hills.

Ski Sunday Before the Fresh Snow Washes Away

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