Cartoonist Rob Kernachan puts his clever touch on the stormy situation. (Courtesy of Rob Kernachan)

Island community experiences 24-hour rainfall record

Chemainus just short of 100 mm between 4 a.m. Jan. 31 and 4 a.m. Feb. 1, but storm surpasses that

The Jan. 31 rainstorm that lasted into the early-morning hours of Feb. 1 dropped more than 100 millimetres of rain on the Chemainus Valley.

Chris Carss, a volunteer weather observer/recorder for Environment Canada in Chemainus, noted a 24-hour reading of 99.1 mm for the 24-hour period from 4 a.m. Jan. 31 to 4 a.m. Feb. 1, but the rainfall continued for a short time after his 4 a.m. observation Feb. 1 and brought another 2.4 mm for a final total of 101.5 mm in 24.5 hours.

“So the official new 24-hour record is just under 100 mm, but the total for the storm was just over that benchmark amount,” Carss noted.

He declared January 2020 a wild month in the Chemainus Valley, even by winter standards for the West Coast.

“It started off unseasonably mild and spring-like on New Year’s Day,” Carss elaborated. “After that, temperatures cooled off to more seasonal values with rain most days until some heavy snowstorms arrived near the middle of the month with temperatures well below freezing for three days in a row. For the second half of the month, the temperature regime returned to near-normal for about a week with rain nearly every day.

“January ended with a mirror-image return to above normal values as a ‘pineapple express’ event hit the Chemainus Valley, bringing record rainfall amounts falling on the last evening of the month, extending into the wee small hours of February 1 accompanied by gale force wind causing (surprise!) power failures and flooding in many areas of the Valley.”

Total precipitation for January was a whopping 546.6 mm. The normal is just 252.1.

The amount broke down to 492.8 mm of rain (normal 231.1) and snowfall of 53.8 centimetres (normal 21.0 cm).

There were a total days of just three sunny or partly sunny days in January. The normal is seven.

All but one of 28 mostly cloudy days had precipitation.

The mean daily maximum temperature for January was right on the normal of 6.8 C. The mean daily minimum temperature was 2.5 C, just slightly above the normal of normal 2.3C

The extreme maximum temperature of 13 C occurred on New Year’s Day. The extreme minimum for the month was -5.5 C on Jan. 14.

All Keith Rush could say about January statistics taken at his Thetis Island home was ‘Wow!’

Total rainfall there was 379.7 mm, compared to 162.8 mm in January of last year and the January average of 172.0 mm.

“A record January,” noted Rush, beating 2018 which had 306.9 mm.

“So far, early February continues to be volatile with rapidly changing temperatures and weather conditions, but nothing as violent as in January,” added Carss. “It is almost unheard of for such extreme weather as we had in January to repeat equally for a second month in a row, so the statistical probability of an equally stormy February is low for the time being.

“Our second month of the year has traditionally marked the beginning of our annual transition to spring, but the last few years haven’t followed that game plan very well. However, it’s looking possible for this year if the winter storms of January have finally spent their force.”

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