British Columbia

How does this winter compare to the infamous 2008/2009 season?

While Vancouver is not yet breaking records for the snowiest winter, there is still time this season and still lots more snow in the forecast.

Lots more snow and cold for the week ahead

The monthly temperature forecast for the month of January shows high confidence in colder than seasonal averages for much of B.C. (Environment Canada/)

Despite the unusual and brutal waves of snow and arctic chill for Vancouver, we haven't broken any major weather records yet.

But there's still time.

For many in the Lower Mainland, the season we most reference when it comes to serious winters was 2008/2009. That's when almost 90 centimetres fell at the YVR weather station in December, with snow sticking around until March.

By comparison, in December 2016 only 27.4 centimetres fell — nowhere close to even making it into the 10 snowiest Decembers.

In fact, it was the 16th snowiest December on record.

Our latest blast of arctic air will continue through Thursday before two weather systems move in to the picture bringing days of snow and rain starting Friday. (Johanna Wagstaffe/CBC)

But it's not just the amount of snow: the fact that it was spread out over six separate snow events, each time followed by partial melting before another stretch of arctic weather, is making getting around treacherous. 

And those figures are taken from Richmond which is really not representative of the entire Lower Mainland. Just ask anyone in Coquitlam or Port Moody or North Vancouver!

A senior walks over an icy sidewalk near Hillcrest Park in Vancouver. (Cory Correia/CBC News)

Another major snow event in the forecast

One thing is clear — there will be more cold and there will be more snow before this winter is done for Vancouver. 

The latest blast of arctic air will stay through Thursday for much of B.C., with afternoon temperatures hovering around zero for Vancouver, and overnight lows approaching -10 C.

Big changes are expected to arrive Friday as milder Pacific air moves in, bringing more snow. But that also means temperatures will get a few degrees above zero at lower elevations, adding the possibility for significant snow changing to rain for some. 

It gets complicated over the weekend, because B.C.'s South Coast actually has two systems merging right over us — one coming from the north bringing milder Pacific air, and another moving in from Washington State.

Either way there is a good chance the Lower Mainland could see several days of snow through the weekend and into early next week, although there is still a lot of uncertainty in exact amounts.

Stay tuned to Environment Canada's weather alerts as we get closer to the weekend. 

As for the rest of the winter? Long range outlooks for the west coast keep us cold right through January.

The monthly temperature forecast for the month of January shows high confidence in a colder than seasonal averages for much of B.C. (Environment Canada/)


Johanna Wagstaffe

Senior Meteorologist

Johanna Wagstaffe is a senior meteorologist for CBC, covering weather and science stories, with a background in seismology and earth science. Her weekly segment, Science Smart, answers viewers' science-related questions.