Ships docked in Crofton during a rare beautiful day in December. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Ships docked in Crofton during a rare beautiful day in December. (Photo by Don Bodger)

December rainfall 50 per cent higher than normal on southern Vancouver Island

Blast of snow on Dec. 21 left some on the ground for Christmas

December 2020 had been forecast to be wetter than usual for southern Vancouver Island.

And, even though it didn’t start out that way, the weather man was right: total rainfall winding up almost 50 per cent higher than normal for the month.

“The rainfall turned out to be rather spotty during the first half of the month, with the heavier rain and snow not starting until the second half,” explained Chris Carss, a Chemainus-based volunteer weather observer/recorder for Environment Canada.

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With rainfall above normal overall, the total snowfall, by contrast, was about 30 per cent below normal, according to Carss, but persisted long enough after a Dec. 21 storm to leave some patchy snow cover of one centimetre or less for Christmas Day.

“Technically, it wasn’t a White Christmas which requires an even snow cover of at least two centimetres, and some areas of the Chemainus Valley may not have had any snow cover at all on the 25th,” he added.

“However, it was the third White or ‘Whitish’ Christmas in the past five years for those who got some of the white stuff, which is no mean feat for the Chemainus area or anywhere else on the West Coast.

It was also the second time this year that a change in meteorological seasons from fall to winter coincided closely with its corresponding astronomical or calendar season, the previous time having been in late June with the change from spring to summer. The other seasonal changes saw the meteorological spring and fall both arriving about 10 days after the calendar changes.

Oddly, December was also a bit sunnier than usual despite the extra rain, Carss noted.

“The slightly reduced cloud cover in December was highly productive. Temperatures were about a degree above normal, but this fell within the ‘standard deviation’ for what can be considered normal for the time of year.”

The mean daily maximum temperature for December was 7.6 degrees Celsius (normal 6.4 C) and the mean minimum came in at 3.5 C (normal 2.4 C). The extreme maximum of 12.5 C occurred on Dec 9 and the extreme minimum of -1.5 C on Dec. 24.

There were seven days of mostly or partly sunny conditions. That’s two above the normal of five days with sunshine.

Of the 24 mostly cloudy days, precipitation occurred on 20 of them. The normal days with precipitation is 21.

Total rainfall amounted to 307.6 millimetres (normal 226.9 mm) and total snowfall 13.2 cm (normal 19.4 cm).

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This is how Crofton looked during an unexpected heavy snowfall on Dec. 21. (Photo by Don Bodger)

This is how Crofton looked during an unexpected heavy snowfall on Dec. 21. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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