It doesn’t look like the weather is going to improve anytime soon.
The spring of 2022 has been mostly wet and cool for much of Vancouver Island, and Environment Canada is forecasting much of the same well into the summer months.
Meteorologist Derek Lee said the La Niña weather pattern, which brings cooler weather to the B.C. coast, that began last fall has continued through the spring and is expected to stay in place well into July, and possibly even early August.
La Niña is an up-welling of cold water in the eastern Pacific Ocean near the equator that influences the position of the jet stream and pushes it northward over the the northwest of the U.S. and B.C.
Since low-pressure systems run along the jet stream, the target of most wet weather ended up being B.C., Washington and Oregon.
Added to that this year, the region is experiencing upper-level troughs in the jet stream which is bringing cooler air down from the Arctic.
“The Island, including the Cowichan Valley, can expect lower than average temperatures this spring and more than usual precipitation in general,” Lee said.
“This will continue into the summer but there’s hope that we’ll see more seasonal weather in August. We can expect to see some summer trends from now until then, but they will be intermittent. However, La Niña is forecast to return in the fall.”
Lee pointed out that last year was also a La Niña year, and the region experienced severe heat domes in late June, but said that was a historical event and likely won’t be repeated this year.
Asked if La Niña will continue into next summer, Lee said that depends on ocean temperatures, and there are no specific patterns to determine that at this early stage.
But the silver lining to this dark weather cloud is there has been a lot less wildfires on Vancouver Island this year as a result of the wet and cool weather.
Coastal Fire Centre’s information officer Dorothy Jacobson said that so far this fire season, there has been six wildfires in the centre’s jurisdiction, way down from the 58 that firefighters’ were grappling with at the same time last year.
She said that the average number of wildfires in the region by mid June over the last 10 years is 34.
“We’re staying on top of it,” Jacobson said.
“We’re fully staffed and prepared for whatever comes our way.”
Last year across the province, wildfires forced almost 200 evacuation orders during a near-record season where 1,610 wildfires charred 8,682 square kilometres of land, primarily in southern and southeastern B.C.