While the worst of winter may be over, Metro Vancouverites shouldn't stash away their cold-weather attire just yet -- even if they woke up to a bluebird sky Thursday (March 2) morning.
Environment Canada meteorologist Jonathan Bau told V.I.A. that a large cold upper trough of air will keep temperatures a couple of degrees below seasonal averages for at least the next week, providing more opportunities for snowfall in the region.
February's cold air system has persisted into the start of meteorological spring, which kicked off on March 1. While the typical daily snowfall amount for February is 6.3 cm, many locations in Vancouver saw as much as 15 to 20 cm overnight Saturday, Feb. 25. There was less of an accumulation in other areas of the region, however, with Vancouver International Airport (YVR) receiving 11 cm.
The daily snowfall record for February at YVR is 28.6 cm, which was recorded on Feb. 15, 1990.
Following a sunny morning in the city, Environment Canada calls for a risk of thunderstorms Thursday afternoon as an "unstable airmass" makes its way into the area, Bau explained.
With any thunderstorm "you're playing statistics," he added, cautioning people to take shelter during the tempestuous weather event.
Metro Vancouver weather forecast includes more opportunities for early March snowfall
There is also an opportunity for wet flurries overnight Thursday and at higher elevations on Friday night. Average temperatures for early March are highs around 9 C with lows around 2 C. However, temperatures have been ranging with highs between 5 C to 6 C and lows dipping down between freezing and 2 C, Bau said.
While temperatures might start to warm up next week somewhat, Environment Canada expects the spring will be a bit cooler than average.
"The [forecast] is hinting at a slightly greater probability of below-normal temperatures for the spring," Bau remarked, adding that the weather models indicate that there is a 49 per cent of below-normal temperatures for the month with a 34 per cent chance of them being near-normal.
The probability of having another blast of bitterly cold Arctic air diminishes in March but locals should pay attention to the forecast, the meteorologist noted.
"Definitely pay attention to the forecast -- it is somewhat atypical. When we mention spring, people tend to think more of sunnier conditions but really spring includes the risk of thunderstorms, hail, rain, showers, and sun.
"It's a mixed bag."