January weather still drier than normal despite light snowfall on the South Island

Photo credit: Nicholas Pescod

A light blanket of snow greeted Mill Bay residents, while in Central Saanich, it made for a slushy commute — but even with Tuesday’s precipitation, it looks like the South Island is still in for a drier-than-average month.

Up-Island communities like Campbell River and Nanaimo are reporting 100 per cent normal precipitation levels from Jan. 1-30, but it’s a different story in the CRD according to Armel Castellan, warning preparedness meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada.

“January as a whole has been warm and dry. So there are most locations either a little bit above normal, or a lot above normal temperature. And most locations have been a little bit, if not a lot below normal for precipitation,” Castellan said.

For the first month of 2023, Victoria is at 45 per cent of its normal precipitation. The University of Victoria weather station, meanwhile, recorded less than 30 per cent of normal.

As the driest area on the South Island, students at UVic say they have noticed.

“I broke my umbrella a couple of, like a month ago. And I haven’t bought a new one because I haven’t needed one. So clearly, it’s been dry,” one student told CHEK.

November, December and January are typically the wettest months of the year.

The Sooke reservoir provides Greater Victoria drinking water, and it’s currently at 91.5 per cent capacity with rain on the way.

But cold snaps translate into drier weather.

“Those are generally quite dry periods and they last several days. So if you miss a third or a half the month of storminess in your month of weather, then you’re likely to be further behind,” Castellan said.

The good news is that a series of storms are on their way to the South Island, making for a much wetter February.

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Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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