Greater Victoria saw a record low for rainfall this November, making it one of the driest Novembers in decades.
According to Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan, the amount of rain seen at the Victoria International Airport in November was 52 mm, when it’s typically 150 mm. This is the lowest its been in Victoria since 1993 and the eighth lowest since 1941.
“We also had 14 straight days with no rain at the Victoria Airport, which we’ve never seen,” Castellan said. “Before that the record had been 12 days.”
Both the beginning and end of November were dry, with a small rain patch in the middle.
“The meteorological pattern is to blame — rigid high pressures didn’t allow for weather to come slamming into the coast as it usually does,” Castellan said. “In this case we’re dealing with such a strong block ridge that caused all of that weather to be deflected into the north.”
It wasnt just the Island’s southern tip that was affected. The weather pattern has caused a drier autumn regionally, with Victoria sitting around 73 per cent of normal, Comox Valley seeing 72 per cent and Vancouver seeing under 90 per cent of annual averages.
In Chemainus, days of sunny or partly sunny conditions doubled from the normal of seven to 14. Of the 16 mostly cloudy days, 13 had precipitation. That’s six less than the normal of 19 days with precipitation. It had a total November rainfall of just 79.1 millimetres, far below the normal of 209.4 mm. There was also a trace of snowfall during the month when 7.8 centimetres is the norm.
“The dry spell that started in late October continued into the first seven days of November,” noted Chris Carss, a volunteer weather observer/recorder for Environment Canada. “From then on, some occasional periods of rain returned but with below normal frequency and amounts, and twice our normal sunshine on the dry days.”
This pattern has the potential of holding larger consequences, such as an increased chance of summer wildfires, because the winter months gather most of the rain for the year.
“These are the building blocks we have as we move into the spring … how does that drought continue into the summer?”
Moving forward into a neutral El Niño year makes it hard for meteorologists to predict what the winter will look like, with chances of a warm January sitting between 40 to 50 per cent.
Frequent sunshine characterized much of November in the Chemainus Valley, resulting in a subsequent dramatic decrease in rainfall.
— with a file from Don Bodger