Victoria expected to set new dry spell record

Victoria expected to set new dry spell record

WATCH: Greater Victoria sits on the verge of a new record for most consecutive days without rain. Ceilidh Millar reports. 

It’s a busy time of year for Matt Hall and the Wildwood Outdoor Living Centre team in Saanich.

“Summers can take a toll on gardens” explained Hall, who works as the assistant manager.

Hall says while they have an irrigation system, the recent dry spell has forced them to water their entire nursery by hand.

“There’s a lot of watering,” said Hall. “I understand the frustrations our customers have because it takes a lot of time.”

Rain is something many parts of B.C. have seen very little of this season.

On Friday, it had been 53 days since Victoria received a single drop of rain.

Without any measurable precipitation at the Victoria International Airport since June 18, the region is on track to set the longest ever dry spell on record.

The previous record was set in 1986.

“The weather pattern we are dealing with is abnormally dry,” said meteorologist Cindy Yu from Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The dry and humid conditions are a concern for fire officials across the Island.

Even areas like Nanaimo, which has received some precipitation this summer, are on extreme fire watch.

In Nanaimo, fire crews have fought 15 brush fires so far this month compared to none of the previous August.

“It’s been incredibly dry across the southern half of the province since June,” said Yu.

The dry weather has some municipalities experimenting with drought-resistant plants.

“Our horticultural staff are experimenting with some of the traffic islands we’ve planted” explained District of Saanich’s Senior Parks and Recreation Manager Eva Riccius.

Riccius says they’re testing out the plants in Saanich’s Braefoot Park.

Hall also recommends that gardeners plant for their climate which can depend on location and shade.

“If you do that when you choose your plants you’re going to have a much easier time for the coming years” said Hall.

There is some relief in sight to this dry stretch of weather.

The forecast calls for rain across the Island this weekend.

Meteorologists also predict the rain and a southwesterly wind will push the smoky haze caused by the wildfires in the Interior away from the Island.

An air quality advisory remains in effect across the Island until that happens, but we could see more blue skies in the coming days.

Ceilidh MillarCeilidh Millar

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