Amid record-breaking February snowfall, Armel Castellan, a meteorologist from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has warned of drainage problems and possible roof collapses by the end of the week. Coupled with melting snow, rain is forecast to fall by the end of the week, potentially creating hazards.
“Today is the beginning of the melt. By Valentines Day, we should see temperatures up to as high as 5C and continuing the melt into Friday.” He added, “So there is a possibility of drainage issues, and roof collapses are a concern due to the accumulation of snow on them.”
Castellan said that meteorologists are unsure of to what extent the snows flurries will turn into rain showers, but estimates there to be more rain than snow.
On any given day in Feb. between 1981-2010, there were 6.3 cm of snow but due to the series of weather events, there will likely to have been 60 cm of snowfall on much of the populated areas of Vancouver Island. The last significant fall was in Feb. 2014, where 39.6 cm fell and the overall record snowfall was on Dec. 29, 1996 at 64.5 cm.
Experts say that although the snowfall has been noteworthy, snow is not as uncommon on the Island as people might think.
“We have always had colder stretches, the difference is our snow events are [usually] quick to wash to slush. This series of weather events have not dislodged the arctic air.”
While there have been significant cold snaps in the past, such as in 1916 and 1923, Castellan strikes a note of caution.
“The climate has changed. How will the [polar] jetstream behave? With the sea-ice melting, there could be more cold arctic air due to a lazier jetstream in future.”