Bitter cold has gripped much of B.C., including south and central Vancouver Island. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Bitter cold has gripped much of B.C., including south and central Vancouver Island. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Temperatures reach new lows in Greater Victoria, Malahat area, Port Alberni

Long-standing records have been broken

The bitter cold has broken temperature records across Vancouver Island, including around the the Malahat area, according to Environment Canada’s preliminary data.

A new record of -11.1 C on Boxing Day, beat the old record of -8.5 set back in 1996.

It got even colder in that region on Dec. 27, with a low of -11.6 C.

New Boxing Day temperature records were also set in Greater Victoria. In the Victoria Harbour, Esquimalt and Gonzales Point areas, a new record of -8.7 C overtook the old record of -5.4 C set in 1996.

Port Alberni area also set a new Boxing Day record: -13.3 C, crushing the old record of -10 C set in 1971.

On any given day since Dec. 23, new daily records are being set across the Island and throughout B.C.

“Frostbite and hypothermia can occur within minutes if adequate precautions are not taken when outdoors,” said Arctic Outflow alerts that were issued from Environment Canada at the time.

While the Mainland has extensive extreme cold and Arctic outflow warnings, as of Tuesday morning, Vancouver Island has no alerts.

“Before going outside or planning outdoor activities, check the weather forecast from Environment and Climate Change Canada for the latest weather conditions, forecasts, and warnings for your locality,” says Environment Canada’s website. “Be alert for extreme cold warnings. These warnings, based on local climate conditions, are put into effect when significant cold temperatures or wind chills are expected to occur for at least two hours. Extremely cold temperatures, even if there is little or no wind, can also be hazardous.”

According to B.C. Hydro, a new power consumption record was set on Dec. 27 between 5 and 6 p.m.

The demand for electricity peaked at an all time high of 10,902 megawatts, beating the previous record of 10,577 megawatts set in 2020.

“The record represents a single moment in the hour when demand for electricity was the highest yesterday,” saidSimi Heer, BC Hydro spokesperson. “Most of the increase is likely due to additional home heating required during this cold snap.”

Increases in demand for power are continuing.

BC Hydro has observed on an overall increase in electricity demand since Friday, Hydro noted. Monday’s hourly peak demand was 18 per cent higher than Friday’s.

“BC Hydro has enough supply options in place to meet increasing electricity demand,” adds Heer. “However, if British Columbians want to help ease some of the demand on the system during peak times, we encourage shifting activities like doing laundry or running dishwashers to earlier in the day or later in the evening.”

To keep up with records as they’re broken, visit: https://weather.gc.ca/warnings/weathersummaries_e.html#BC

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