April showers? Not on Vancouver Island where dry weather cracks top 10

April showers? Not on Vancouver Island where dry weather cracks top 10
WatchUnusually dry weather sees Victoria, Comox and Campbell River crack the top 10 for warmest April's on record. Tess van Straaten reports.

Unusually dry weather and an early spring heat-wave led to the tenth driest and warmest April on record at the Victoria Airport.

“The upper ridge that was in place in April contributed to this warm, dry weather that we saw and it kind of affected most areas of Vancouver Island,” explains Environment & Climate Change Canada meteorologist Bobby Sekhon.

Victoria received just 19.9 mm of precipitation last month, 41.5 per cent of the 47.9 mm the city normally gets.

However, most areas on the East Island saw an even bigger drop, around a third of the typical rainfall.

Comox, recorded its eighth warmest April on record and received only 23.4 mm. It normally receives 64.6 mm of rain.
Nanaimo, at just 22.2 mm, had 33 per cent of its normal rainfall (67.4 mm).
The normally wet West Coast fell far short of the 270 mm Tofino usually gets, with just 84.6 mm (31 per cent of normal).  
Campbell River saw its sixth driest April on record, clocking in at just 23.2 mm — a quarter of the typical 92.1 mm.
Port Alberni only received 23 per cent of its normal precipitation, with 33.9 mm instead of 145.4 mm.
But despite the early spring sizzle, the fire danger rating for much of Vancouver Island is low or very low and the wildfire season isn’t forecast to be any worse than normal.

“Right now there is no drought, that’s good news,” says Donna MacPherson of Coastal Fire Centre. “As long as we get a good amount of precipitation the next couple of months, that helps carry us through the drier months.”

MacPherson says that Rain in June and having another ‘June-uary’ is key.

“For us, June-uary is a particularly good thing because it gives a chance for the forest to catch its feet under it and get ready for a dry period,” MacPherson explains. “All of the rain that happens in June gets down underneath the soils, it re-hydrates the big trees, and it re-hydrates the little bushes and shrubs that are underneath as well.”

But so far, Environment Canada says the seasonal forecasts for late spring and summer are still inconclusive.

“We’re not really seeing any strong signals of hot temperatures, of cold temperatures, so it’s really hard to say right now,” Sekhon says. “When there are no signals, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be near normal. It just means the seasonal models are not able to predict it.”

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