WATCH: The “palm tree capital of Canada” has had more February snow than Sudbury, Ottawa and St. John’s, capping off a winter of wild weather. Tess van Straaten reports.
The B.C. capital has had its “snowiest” February since they started keeping records at the Victoria International Airport.
“The snow we’ve had in the last week has been extremely unusual for February,” says University of Victoria climatologist Ed Wiebe.
The palm tree capital of Canada’s had 11 times more snow than a normal February — a whopping 68 centimetres at the airport by Thursday night.
That’s way more than Yellowknife, which has had 3 centimetres.
It’s even higher than snow-belt Sudbury, which racked up 65 centimetres in the first two weeks of the month.
Ottawa, at 55 centimetres, has also had less snow than Victoria.
And even winter-whipped St. John’s, Newfoundland, which gets an average annual snowfall of 335 centimetres, has had a fraction of Victoria’s February snow.
It’s been a winter of wild weather extremes from record-breaking cold to above seasonal warmth and even a historic wind storm.
December’s wind storm knocked out power to three-quarters of a million people and was the most damaging in B.C. Hydro history.
Then in January, it felt more like spring with early blossoms and 30 days above 6 C — which ranks January 2019 in third place.
But the beginning of February threw Greater Victoria into the deep freeze.
A rare polar vortex, which usually stays east of Vancouver Island, plunged the region below zero.
“This year the weather events have swung around a lot and we’ve seen more extremes,” explains Wiebe. “To have so many different weather events that are unusual is exceptional for sure.”
So is climate change to blame?
“It may be that under warmer climates, we have more extreme changes from year to year and more storms,” Wiebe says.
The typical temperature for Victoria on Feb 15 is a rather balmy 8.4 C.