Metro Vancouver’s Unpredictable Weather

2020-12-17

Jane wakes up and checks her weather app. No snow today. Yay! She puts on her high heel shoes that perfectly match the outfit she wants to wear to work. 

At the end of the day, Jane leaves work and gets caught in an unexpected snowstorm. To get to her SkyTrain station faster, she cuts through a parking lot and slips and falls while doing so. Once home, she throws her heels back in the closet, pulls out snow-friendly shoes for tomorrow and deletes her weather app.

Welcome to the unpredictability of the weather in Metro Vancouver.

Many factors affect weather, such as temperature, cloud patterns, air pressure, precipitation, and wind. Now, throw in climate change and the location of where we live, which messes things up even more.

MORE SNOW IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

Did you know that snow accumulation has been increasing in parts of British Columbia? 

It was determined in a report issued by scientists from Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Natural Resources Canada and university experts. These weather experts collaborated and produced Canada’s Changing Climate Report. According to this 2019 report, seasonal snow accumulation decreased for most of Canada but for parts of British Columbia (as well as parts of Alberta and Southern Saskatchewan) it has increased by 2-5% per decade since 1981.1

WHY IS THERE MORE PRECIPITATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA?

Climate change.  

Isn’t everyone talking about increased temperatures due to climate change? 

Well, yes. 

So, why more snow? 

A possible explanation is around precipitation. So, we agree that temperatures are rising, correct? That means our earth is getting warmer. With a warmer planet, more water from the earth evaporates into the atmosphere. Now, we have more moisture in the air. That translates to more precipitation (snow and rain).2 Makes sense, yes? 

But, can’t those meteorologists better predict when precipitation will decide to fall for their weather forecasts so people like Jane don’t slip and fall in parking lots because of unexpected weather and their poor choice of shoes?

UPCOMING WEATHER FORECAST: EXTREME AND UNPREDICTABLE

With warmer temperatures, one may say the trend is for more rain than snow here in Metro Vancouver. And that would likely be a good prediction. In fact, the 2014 National Climate

Assessment Report, issued by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, indicates a decrease in the number of snowstorms in the Northern US since 2000. However, they also state that although there was a decrease in the number of snowstorms since 2000, there has been an increase in extreme snowstorms. One factor in the rise in seasonal snow accumulation in BC.

Canada’s 2019 Changing Climate Report also predicts an increase in extreme precipitation and an increase in the frequency of these events4 while the insurance industry is also confirming the unpredictability of extreme weather. The Canadian Institute of Actuaries compiled their Actuaries Climate Index which is used by actuaries to determine risk when insuring lives and property. Even they indicated that certain climate trends cannot be easily explained, according to a 2018 CBC article.

Do we blame climate change for these extreme storms and unpredictable weather patterns? Perhaps. But where we live affects our weather too.

LOCATION: ANOTHER CAUSE OF WEATHER UNPREDICTABILITY

Metro Vancouver’s geographical location also contributes to our unpredictable weather with the specific weather systems along British Columbia’s coast. According to NAV Canada’s Local Area Weather Manual for British Columbia, when the pressure changes and a warm inflow replaces a cold outflow, predicting precipitation becomes difficult in our region.5

In addition, other unique coastal factors like marine heatwaves affect weather patterns along the coast. You may have heard of “The Blob” which was one such heatwave back in 2014/15. 

So, our location coupled with climate change seems to result in more unpredictable weather in our area. Now, perhaps you own that parking lot in Metro Vancouver where Jane slipped and fell. Well, now she just filed a slip and fall claim against you for your hazardous parking lot. Who knew our unpredictable weather patterns would result in you having to deal with a lawsuit?!

SNOW AND ICE REMOVAL SERVICE A MUST WITH WEATHER UNPREDICTABILITY 

You could have avoided this scenario. You could have paid for peace of mind and hired someone to look out for you and your property. Someone who uses tools to track sudden weather and temperature changes and someone who is on your property at the first sign and need of snow removal and ice removal. That someone is Snow Queen.

Signing up with Snow Queen will ensure that you have snow and ice removal experts looking after your property to help mitigate risk. They have been in the commercial snow removal business since 2007, helping stratas, commercial and retail properties protect themselves from slip and fall claims. 

Check out a list of their services at www.snowqueen.co. Contact them soon to have a discussion before the temperature drops, causing rain to freeze or, worse yet, the next snowstorm. And it will happen; we just don’t know when. 

Be prepared for that unpredictable weather to help save you from unprepared citizens like Jane.