Metro Vancouver drivers who save money by forgoing snow tires may want to rethink their strategy this winter.
A moderate La Nina weather pattern is expected to bring colder-than-normal temperatures to most of B.C.
Environment Canada meteorologist David Jones said that may translate into more snow in the Lower Mainland.
“I’d say it’s a good year to get snow tires,” Jones said. “But remember other outcomes are possible.”
One U.S. forecaster predicted the typically colder weather pattern from the Pacific Ocean could make this one of the chilliest winters in 20 years for Vancouver.
But Jones called it “irresponsible” to go that far in making any predictions.
He noted last winter was actually a strong La Nina yet there were few storms, relatively warm temperatures and less snow than Jones had expected.
“Whether it’s saving up to whack us this year, I don’t know,” he said. “It might happen. Is it predictable? I would say no.”
The projection is for the 90-day temperature average over the winter to run one to two degrees colder than normal here.
That would increase the odds of big dumps of snow in Metro Vancouver, Jones said.
While motorists interested in a smooth commute may be frustrated, skiers and local ski hill operators will likely be happy.
“La Nina years are typically good for skiers because the snow stays, it doesn’t melt,” Jones said. “The freezing level is persistently lower.”
The projection of another La Nina winter came from the U.S. National Weather Service, which noted it brings a strong chance of above-average precipitation across the Pacific Northwest.
A snowfall in Abbotsford last winter offers a reminder of what may soon be in store.