Put on your hats and mitts a cold snap is coming to the Prince Rupert region over the next couple of weeks, Environment Canada warned on Feb. 8, with temperatures five to 10 degrees below normal along the coast.
Coastal communities will experience colder temperatures brought to the area by an Arctic air mass that has currently taken over the interior, Lisa Erven meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada, told The Northern View.
“With the high pressure centered over inland sections, that’s going to help drive north easterly flow winds through the coastal fjords, it’s going to bring those colder temperatures that we’re seeing in the interior of B.C.,” she said.
According to the weather authority temperatures in interior regions will be 10 to 20 degrees below the seasonal average, while coastal areas will drop making for the coldest conditions seen this season.
Temperatures will start a decreasing trend on Tues. (Feb. 8) and Wed. (Feb. 9).
The delayed cold effect is making the weather event even more significant, as the winter has been fairly mild throughout the province so far, Erven said.
“This is our first Arctic outbreak of the season and that in itself is coming later than we may typically expect,” Erven said. “Usually we have had one or two events by early February.”
Even though the North Coast has seen its share of storms in the past few weeks, temperatures have been well above normal she said, so, now is the time for the slip to much colder temperatures.
“We’re basically five to 10 degrees below normal for this time of year, and that’s going to continue throughout this week,” the meteorologist said.
Last winter January 2020 tied for the top spot of the coldest temperature on record for the city. The prior year it was tied with to reaching the -17 C temperatures was 1969. Erven said the local region is not expecting the mercury to dive that low this year.
“So with the forecasted overnight lows of really only around -9 C or -10 C, it looks like we’ll be well off that statistic … It’s all relative, but it will be warmer this year.”
As for how long the cold snap will last, Erven said the weather mass will need a good push to move out of the area.
“When arctic air gets set in place over the province of B.C., it can be quite a stubborn air mass to get rid of,” she said.
“We really need a good push of more mild air from an approaching low-pressure system to really help knock it out of the way,” she said, however no signal of that needed push is on the horizon.
With no warming signal in close sight, temperatures may rise slightly during the week of Feb. 15 to 19th she said, with digits closer to normal but still on the lower side of normal.
According to Environment Canada, normal temperatures for the region are around 6 C for daytime highs and overnight lows of -1 C.
“Because Prince Rupert has got this giant bathtub beside it wintertime temperatures are often moderated by the relatively warm ocean air,” Erven said.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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