Wild weather: 2021 was the most extreme year for weather on Vancouver Island

Wild weather: 2021 was the most extreme year for weather on Vancouver Island

It’s been a year of wild weather on Vancouver Island.

A wicked windstorm kicked off 2021, with gusts more than 100 kilometres an hour — strong enough to toss a canoe on the roof of a Victoria home.

Then in February, the polar vortex plunged us into the deep freeze with frigid temperatures and record-breaking cold.

“Just being outside in those temperatures, people can die,” Our Place CEO Julian Daly said Feb. 8.

The Family Day long weekend saw another winter wallop with back-to-back snowstorms.

The snowfall, more than 40 cm for Nanaimo and Cowichan, smashed several records and even saw the beaches of Tofino blanketed in white.

In March, we moved to the other extreme — kicking off what would become the driest spring on record.

“It’s always surprising to start to see those numbers come in and really hit those extremes,” Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan told CHEK News June 8th.

It was also one of the warmest April’s ever recorded.

But June would bring temperatures never-before-seen on Vancouver Island.

The scorching heat dome, which claimed hundreds of lives on the B.C. South Coast, buckled sidewalks and set several all-time temperatures records.

“The reason you have never felt this type of heat before is because it has never happened before,” Castellan said June 28 of the heatwave that garnered worldwide attention.

The summer would see two more sweltering heatwaves and set news records for hottest August day ever recorded, leading to a dire drought and one of the province’s worst fire seasons.

The drought abruptly ended in September., with a record number of atmospheric rivers drenching the Island in the fall and even a history-making bomb cyclone.

“It’s been an extraordinarily active streak of weather since mid-September,” Castellan remarked Oct. 28.

November would bring record rainfall and historic flooding — estimated to be the ‘most costly’ severe weather event ever for the province — and wash out the Malahat.

The damage here and utter devastation in the Fraser Valley shutdown highways and cut B.C. off from the rest of Canada.

“We’re doing everything we can that is possible to get transportation links open,” transportation minister Rob Fleming said during an emergency briefing Nov. 17.

In the end, fall 2021 made history as the rainiest on record in Victoria, Nanaimo and the Lower Mainland.

“I’ve been doing this for 32 years and this is one year I’ll certainly not forget,” says AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brett Anderson. “I mean, the extremes one way or another have been really insane.”

And December brought another extreme with snow and a rare white Christmas across the Island, including Victoria, and a bone-chilling end-of-year coldwave.

The record-breaking cold snap caps off a year that will go down as the most extreme one for weather ever recorded on Vancouver Island.

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