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Strong winds, precipitation to blow through Whistler beginning Tuesday night

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Whistler and the rest of the South Coast.
windy weather flags blowing in Whistler Olympic Plaza
Environment Canada issued a special weather statement in for Whistler and the rest of B.C.'s South Coast, warning of strong winds and heavy precipitation beginning Tuesday night.

Patches of blue sky might have reappeared in Whistler Monday afternoon, but the grey May weather is set to continue this week. 

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement on May 16 for Whistler, warning of "strong, gusty southeasterly winds" that will begin blowing through the South Coast on Tuesday night, before switching to southwest on Wednesday.

The alert also applies to Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast, Howe Sound, Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley.

In addition to the blustery winds, Environment Canada is also predicting 40 to 70 mm of precipitation for West Vancouver Island and higher terrain across the Sunshine Coast, Howe Sound, and North Shore mountains. With freezing levels set to reach 1,100 to 1,500 metres, much of that precipitation will come in the form of heavy snow at higher elevations. Historically, the highest amount of precipitation recorded on a May 17 in Whistler was 20.6 mm in 1996. 

The stormy conditions are expected to continue until late Wednesday. 

The federal weather agency blames the strong southeasterly winds and heavy precipitation on "an unseasonably strong low pressure system" that will make landfall on Vancouver Island Tuesday night. As the cold front passes, meteorologists expect strong southerly winds to funnel up the Sea to Sky corridor beginning Wednesday morning. 

However, "There is some uncertainty in the exact track of the low pressure centre," the special weather statement reads. "This will impact which communities see the strongest winds. As the storm nears and wind speeds and total precipitation amounts become more certain, warnings may be issued."

Currently, Whistler's forecast calls for cloudy weather Tuesday, with a 40-per-cent chance of showers and a high of 10 degrees C. 

Locals are encouraged to continue monitoring alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada, and to report severe weather via an email to BCstorm@ec.gc.ca.