Wild weather: Is spring having an identity crisis on Vancouver Island?

Wild weather: Is spring having an identity crisis on Vancouver Island?

At Galey Farms in Saanich, spring planting is about three weeks behind schedule due to our wild spring weather.

“It’s been a lot of tough calls this spring,” says Rob Galey of Galey Farms. “It starts to warm up, it gets cold, it starts to warm up, it gets cold, warm days and cold nights — it’s been quite the roller coaster this year.”

But now that it’s almost mid-April, they have no choice but to start seeding several crops this week.

“Even though it’s still cold out, we have a lot of labour showing up so have to seed now,” Galey says. “It’s time to get things in the ground just because the calendar says so.”

Spring, it seems, is having an identity crisis on Vancouver Island.

“It’s been a fairly cool and active pattern this spring,” says Environment Canada meteorologist Bobby Sekhon. “We’ve seen storm after storm from the Pacific and that’s kept things quite interesting on the Island.”

From rare sea-level snowfall in April to intense and damaging wind storms that knocked out power to tens of thousands of people, and even repeated hail storms hammering down, interesting is one way to put it.

Spring has also brought record-breaking cold.

Sunday’s high of just 7°C is officially the coldest April 10 ever recorded at the Victoria Airport.

And in a season of extremes, that’s a shocking 10 degrees cooler than Thursday’s high of 17.3°C — the warmest day of the year so far and the second warmest April 7 on record at the Victoria Gonzales weather station, where records go back to 1899.

“As the climate changes, certainly we can expect more extreme weather, more intense weather systems — whether that’s atmospheric rivers carrying more moisture in the fall or stronger thunderstorms in the spring and summer,” Sekhon explains.

Environment Canada says that now more than ever, it’s important to be prepared for extreme weather.

At Galey Farms, they’re doing just that with drainage tile for extreme rainfall, micro irrigation for heat and barriers and hedging to protect crops against the wind.

“We try and be prepared for all the extremes to some extent,” Galey says. “Farming has always been a gamble but you just gotta go with your gut and be prepared for everything.”

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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