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More days with wet weather in March, but accumulation lower

Whether the month was wetter or not in the region depends on your point of view
Blossoms on the trees in downtown Chemainus are in full bloom. (Photo by Don Bodger)

An interesting anomaly occurred to the weather pattern in the Chemainus Valley during March.

Chris Carss, who volunteers for Environment and Climate Change Canada as a weather observer/recorder at his Chemainus home, noted it’s somewhat debatable whether the month was wetter or drier than usual.

“The answer is that it depends on whether wet is defined by the total number of days with rain, which at 22 was six days above normal this year, or by the total accumulated rainfall which was more than 20 millimetres below normal,” he reasoned.

Readings were taken in Chemainus, but applicable to the surrounding Chemainus Valley watershed, the Cowichan Valley watershed, Saltair-Ladysmith-Nanaimo shoreline and the Saanich Peninula, Carss added.

“These two statistics are not usually in conflict with each other. If March left the impression of being a wet month, at least some of the rain came in dribs and drabs which limited the total accumulated amount.”

Carss pointed out another notable characteristic of the month was the absence of snow in shoreline areas of the Chemainus Valley and most of south central Vancouver Island. There was still some hail in certain localities on March 8 that counted as rain in the precipitation totals and some snow occurred at higher elevations, but nothing was officially recorded.

Temperatures for March were normal. The only days cold enough for snow came around March 10, but remained dry, and a second shot of chilly weather returned around the 20th at the beginning of astronomical spring on the calendar.

“After that, seasonable milder conditions returned once again to finish off the month,” Carss noted.

In terms of sunshine, when the 11 partly sunny mixed weather days are added to the total of eight sunny and dry days, the final total of days with any sunshine comes to 19. By contrast, March 2021 had a much higher total of 15 days that were mostly or partly sunny and dry but only five days had mixed weather days for a total of 20 days with any sun, which was only one more than the much wetter March this year.

“This suggests the total number of days with at least some sunshine for any given month is about the same every year with only the ratio of sun and precipitation varying from one year to the next for that particular year,” Carss pointed out.

Detailed statistics for March were as follows:


Mean daily maximum 10.8 C, normal 10.8 C.

Mean daily minimum 4.6 C, normal 3.8 C.

Extreme maximum 15 C on March 29

Extreme minimum -1 C on March 10


Days mostly or partly sunny and dry 8, normal 8.

Days with mixed weather (sunshine and precipitation) 11.

Total days mostly or partly sunny (including mixed weather days) 19.

Cloud and Precipitation

Days cloudy and dry 1.

Days cloudy with precipitation 11.

Total days with precipitation 22 (including the 11 mixed weather days), normal 16.

Rainfall 104.3 mm, normal 126.3 mm.

Snowfall 0, normal 6.0 cm.

Total combined precipitation 104.3 mm, normal 132.3 mm.

On Thetis Island, Keith Rush recorded 89.2 mm of precipitation in March at his Foster Point Road residence. That’s just below the average March on Thetis that yields 93.7 mm.

“Interestingly, just a 20-minute float plane ride away at YVR they recorded 153.0 mm for the month of March,” Rush noted.

April arrived with another shot of cool and wet weather for the region that Carss indicated would likely persist until at least the middle of the month.

“After that, drier and seasonably milder conditions are expected once again, this time for the remainder of the spring season,” he added.

All is quiet at Fuller Lake Park on a March day. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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