Sunday West Coast Storm (LIVE updates)

 Wave heights this evening. Significant waves over 7 metres along the Washington Coast. Surfing in Tofino, anyone?

Wave heights this evening. Significant waves over 7 metres along the Washington Coast. Surfing in Tofino, anyone?

Hi all,

Just a brief summary of wind gusts yesterday before we move on to today's storm system... lurking just offshore at the time of writing.

  • Race Rocks, Victoria: 90 km/hr
  • Tsawwassen: 65 km/hr
  • Victoria International: 66 km/hr
  • Port Hardy: 81 km/hr
  • Saturna Island: 76 km/hr
  • Pam Rocks, Howe Sound: 98 km/hr

At the height of the storm close to 15,000 BC Hydro customers were without power, the most since the September 2013 wind storm that knocked out power to the Comox Valley



Dealing with a little bit of a power outage in Vancouver, so updates have to me made via phone, so it's very cumbersome. I would love to hear updates from your neighbourhood; so send them in. 

Have fun riding on the storm


UPDATE 5PM: Heavy snow still being reported From Campbell River to Comox and on several of the mountain passes on Vancouver Island. Winds have peaked in Georgia Strait as well as around Vancouver over the next hour or two. 

In an update, earlier I hinted at some high elevation snow, but I failed to predict just how much would fall in a short amount of time for Campbell River and Cumberland. 

This wasn't a surprise folks. It was well forecasted, but unfortunately I was focused too much on wind impact. No excuse here, this was missed. 

Here's the real hero today. The UW WRF-GFS predicted a very heavy snowfall between 1-4PM (10-15 cm of snow) and it looks like amounts match the observations people are sending in.

So when people mention this was a surprise snowfall, you can gently correct them. It wasn't. One model predicted this, at least. 

surprise snow.png

Sorry for those who had to travel the North Island today, and were ill-prepared. The highway cams look absolutely brutal at this hour, and reports of blizzard conditions on Mt. Washington are trickling in.

Forecasters make mistakes. Models make mistakes. You can't win em' all, unfortunately. 

UPDATE 4:00PM. Moderate snowfall in Campbell River at the hour. In fact, EC may issue a heavy snowfall warning for higher elevations 5-10 cm is likely at the time. Just check out the hwy cam south of CR. Absolutely horrid driving conditions at this hour...Take a look.

heavy snow.jpg

Comox is blowing at 60-80 right now, exactly as forecast by EC. I'll have updates on power outage information next. Comox airport is starting to mix with snow, while it's gusting to 80 km/hr. I'd love to hear some storm reports from up Island...


UPDATE: 1:55PM: Latest High Resolution Canadian model is in, and it clearly maps the zones of heightened risk for power outages, with marginal storm force winds in northern Strait, So Campbell River, Comox, Gulf Islands, and exposed sections of the southern Lower Mainland expect scattered outages this afternoon/evening. 

  • The communities that saw wet snow yesterday (Black Creek and the higher elevations of Campbell River can expect more of the same later this afternoon with a low snow level, and heavier precipitation moving through. It really helps if you're a couple hundred metres above sea level and away from the water, though 
    • As snow flakes fall into a warmer layer of air, they melt. Simple enough, but these melting absorbs heat from the air, temporarily freezing the freezing level closer to sea level 
Wind Forecast.png

UPDATE: 1:00PM: Winds picking up the past few hours. Current map. 

wind update.png

Lesson of the day.  Want to impress your friends? Teach them how to read wind barbs.


  • 1/2 line = 5 knots
  • Full line = 10 Knots
  • Menacing triangle = 50 knots

Plus as an added bonus, the barb points in the direction the wind is blowing from. For example, these barbs are showing winds blowing from the NE. 



Current Satellite Imagery:

Storm 2.JPG

The strong frontal system associated with the low will move across the coast late this afternoon bringing rains and high winds. Before the front moves in today, the upper trough sliding through gives the chance for a few 'power showers' before the fun starts this evening.

Winds will be the highest impact with this system, but that's relative. If you're at 1500 metres it's heavy snows. If you're standing outside without an umbrella it's the pounding rains forecasted for this evening.