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‘Risk of frostbite’: What to expect for Metro Vancouver’s Christmas weekend weather

Arctic air is expected to begin making its way to the coast on Christmas Day
Environment Canada released a special weather statement warning residents of snow, high winds and low temperatures for the Christmas weekend.

Not only is this Christmas looking to be Metro Vancouver’s first white Christmas in quite some time, it's also forecasted to be an especially chilly one. 

In a special weather statement issued by Environment Canada, Metro Vancouver has been put on alert ahead of snowfall beginning the evening of Dec. 23 and continuing until Boxing Day. A meteorologist with the federal forecaster broke down the forecast in a recent interview with Vancouver Is Awesome.

“It's quite a wintry forecast coming up, especially beginning Christmas Eve and continuing for Christmas Day and Boxing Day,” Smith said. “We're going to see arctic air starting to push out from the interior onto the coast and that's going to be combined with a low-pressure centre developing off the west coast of Vancouver Island, and bands of moisture spinning around that low are going to clash with the arctic air giving us a pretty good chance for snow."

Smith went on to say that by Christmas Day it should be cold enough that most of Metro Vancouver, from the North Shore to Steveston could see snow. While he wouldn’t give an exact number, he said at least a few centimetres should be expected.

Getting colder

Later, when all the wrapping paper is packed into the recycling, well below average temperatures are expected. Dec. 27-28 the mercury is expected to dip to -7 C to -9 C. Around that same time outflow winds could make those temperatures feel even colder. 

“Wind chills probably will feel like they're in the minus teens,” Smith said. “Which is not great for our vulnerable populations out there."

For context, the coldest temperature ever recorded in Vancouver is -18.3 C in 1968.

Environment Canada’s statement on the subzero dip warns of an increased risk of frostbite and hypothermia. 

To monitor alerts and forecasts you can check out Environment Canada's website. To report severe weather, send an email to [email protected] or tweet reports using #BCStorm.