With a few deep breaths and a winter’s full of pent up cabin fever, a group of Port Alberni boys plunged one after another into the Somass River Tuesday.

“Holy. Oh. Oh, my God,” yelled Port Alberni resident Carson Guzman as he jumped into the water. He didn’t want to follow with another jump due to the water temperature.

Temperature records were smashed for a second day in Port Alberni Tuesday as the thermostat hit 22 C.

It’s spurred planting ahead of schedule at Naesgaard’s Farm and Market. Strawberries were put in the ground ahead of schedule due to the boost of heat.

“Everybody excited and happy,” said one farm worker

However, there’s already concerns with the extreme temperature fluctuations.

“Especially the last two or three years,” said Alberni farmer Bill Thomson.

“Like being so hot and dry in the summer. Never seen it like that.”

Conditions are already extremely dry despite March technically being in the rainy season.

“It’s almost like we got California weather coming north,” said Thomson.

Beaver Creek volunteer firefighters responded to a very rare March grass fire Monday that started when an open burn went out of control.

“It’s very early for us to be in those kind of conditions,” said Beaver Creek Fire Chief Charlie Starratt.

“It surprised us how quickly it spread.”

There is still more sun and heat in the forecast and locals are wondering just what they might be in for when the real hot, dry months begin.

Skye Ryan