Calling the occurrence “rare,” Environment Canada says pockets of Metro Vancouver could see “thunder snow” throughout the day on Thursday.
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According to meteorologist Carmen Hartt, thunder snow is essentially the winter equivalent of a summertime thunder shower.
Hartt told Daily Hive the weather event is due in part to a cold Arctic air is mixing with warmer surface temperatures, which creates unstable air mass.
As a result, “short bursts” of heavy precipitation can take place, and because temperatures are hovering right around the 0°C mark, this can come in the form of rain, snow, or wet snow, depending on where people live in the region.
Hartt noted that some lightning has also been seen off the coast as well, but so far nothing of that nature has been reported in Vancouver.
The continuing weather pattern also prompted Environment Canada to issue a noon-hour weather warning, advising people of “highly variable snowfall accumulations” to northeastern sections of Metro Vancouver.
The agency says that some areas are already reporting up to 25 cm of snowfall.
“Flurries at times heavy will continue through early this afternoon,” the agency said. “Local additional accumulations of 5 cm is possible.”
The “variable” conditions have already caused some headaches in parts of the region, particularly for students and staff at Simon Fraser University.
At 8:51 am this morning, SFU tweeted out that the Burnaby campus was experiencing “unforecasted weather conditions” and announced that all classes before noon were cancelled.
Then at 10:05 am, SFU tweeted again announcing that classes at the Burnaby campus would resume at noon today.