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Environment Canada comments on Metro Vancouver long-term spring forecast

Are you sick of winter weather in Vancouver?
The Metro Vancouver, B.C. weather forecast includes frigid temperatures after the weekend starting on February 17, 2022, and spring might also be cold.

If you're sick of wintry weather and cold temperatures, you are not alone.

But Metro Vancouverites looking forward to a warm respite from cold winter temperatures may not find a drastic change anytime soon. 

While there isn't any extreme cold forecasted in the upcoming weeks, the mercury is expected to dip below freezing on several nights next week. 

Looking beyond the next 10 days or so, meteorologists note that it's decidedly difficult to forecast what spring will feel like this year.

Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist told Vancouver Is Awesome in a phone interview that the region is currently experiencing above-average temperatures through Saturday (Feb. 19) as it moves through a warm and wet period. But the mild pattern is expected to change this weekend as a ridge of cold air moves into the region from the interior. 

There is a possibility of snowfall on a couple of nights starting mid-week on Wednesday (Feb. 23) or Thursday but he noted that it will likely "just be rain mixed with snow or snow on higher terrain."

Beyond next week, however, the forecast is decidedly murky.

"The long-range forecast is less reliable more this season than ever," the meteorologist remarked. 

While the Canadian weather model shows below-average temperatures for spring, other models around the world, such as those in the United States and Europe, are showing the opposite, he explained. "The seasonal forecast is not very reliable right now."

Why is this seasonal forecast unreliable?

There are several reasons why Lundquist doesn't have a great deal of confidence in the spring forecast—for the time being, at least. 

One of the factors is the atmosphere, which hasn't been behaving in a consistent manner that allows meteorologists to ascertain a consistent progression in the weather.

"It's in that type of phase right now where it's not very predictable," he commented. 

But climate change is also a factor in seasonal forecasting and colder than average predictions may actually end closer to average in the season. "Anytime it's cold it could actually be average or warmer."

Additionally, Lundquist noted that climate scientists are researching whether or not the atmosphere behaves differently due to changing climate. One of the questions they're asking is whether or not systems take longer to move. 

A fourth reason is that there's no snow in the interior valleys—the low elevation snow is "low across southern B.C., especially in the interior," he commented. "Below elevation snow is low that ground is darker when there's less snow so it's able to absorb more sunshine and heat up."

All of these competing factors make it difficult to have confidence in this year's spring forecast, particularly this far in advance. However, the federal forecasting department will have a better idea of what the season will look like at the start of meteorological spring (Mar. 1). 

For now, locals will see some modified arctic air move into the region from the interior, which is expected to bring overnight lows below freezing on a few nights next week. But the chilly weather pattern is largely expected to be dry, offering a respite from the wet weather.