Historic summer: More all-time Vancouver Island heat records are smashed

Historic summer: More all-time Vancouver Island heat records are smashed

It’s a cooler and greyer start to the week in Victoria, but it comes after more heat records were set on Vancouver Island.

The third heat wave of summer brought more scorching temperatures from last Thursday through the weekend and smashed several all-time records for hottest day ever recorded in August.

Qualicum ‘s new hottest August day ever recorded is 34.2 degrees Celsius — set Aug. 12, along with other locations.

Comox’s new record is 35.4°C — easily breaking the old one of 33.6°C from 1981.
For the Victoria Area, it was 35.5°C at the Victoria International Airport, topping the old record of 34.4 from 1960.
The Malahat’s new record is a sizzling 37°C.
Nanaimo also broke a 1960 record, climbing to 37°C and Port Alberni hit 39.8°C.

We’ve now broken so many heat records this summer, even the experts are losing count.

“It’s definitely historic in nature,” says Armel Castellan of Environment & Climate Change Canada. “When we look at the climatology for the last 30 years we get 0.03 days above 35°C at the international airport of Victoria. This year, we’ve had four,  so very extraordinary.”

Another measure of just how extraordinary it’s been?

B.C.’s already had more than 154 heat warnings, compared to only 35 last year, just nine in all of 2019 and even 2018 — the province’s worst wildfire season on record — saw far fewer.

But as raging wildfires in the Interior continue to burn, closing highways and prompting more evacuations this week, concern is growing that this will soon be our worst fire season.

The BC Wildfire Service says the amount burned so far is already ten times the provincial average.

However, some much-need rain also brings a big risk.

“The rain forecast is being looked at very carefully right now,” says Castellan. “Often it can come with dry lightning so it can come with a tricky balance, is there really enough moisture there to help.”

As for the Island, some areas saw light showers on Monday but other locations have only had one day with any measurable rainfall in the last two months and there’s none in the forecast for the South Island and East Island this week.

As for the heat, meteorologists say the warmer-than-normal weather will continue into September, October, and possibly even November.

READ MORE: Scorching western heatwave hits Vancouver Island and southern B.C.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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