The weather forecast for 2021 was a story of extremes
In 2021: hottest day on record, coldest day in 36 years, longest period of days when the temperature has not exceeded the freezing point
If the weather in Greater Victoria over the past six months is any indication, continue to expect the unexpected.
Extreme heat, heavy rains, high winds – and lately large blankets of snow – have hit the capital region since June. And Monday, Mother Nature hit us with a mixture of snow, heavy rain and sunshine, leaving us guessing what might happen next.
Steven Murray, a weather analyst from Victoria who meticulously tracks weather data collected at Gonzales Hill in Oak Bay, called it a year of extremes.
The Gonzales Federal Observation Station opened in 1914, but data for the area dates back to 1898, when weather conditions were collected at an old station on Cook Street.
This year, the station saw its largest temperature range on record in a year – a swing of 49.5 degrees C, Murray said.
It all started with the Heated Dome and Grand Victoria hitting the hottest temperature on record – 39.8 ° C on June 28, shattering the old record of nearly four degrees.
The year ended with the coldest temperature recorded in 36 years: -9.7 C on December 27.
There were also four consecutive days from Dec. 26 to 29 that the temperature did not exceed the freezing point – the longest time in 36 years, Murray said.
It was also the hottest June on record, with an average temperature of 16.6 ° C.
And there was a lot of rain as “atmospheric rivers” became part of the everyday vernacular with a fire hose rain style targeting specific areas.
And that included snowfall in early 2021 and over Christmas until the New Years.
“It was probably the wettest year on record,” Murray said, noting about 953 millimeters of precipitation in the region in 2021.
The old record was 944.6mm in 1933.
The number is not official, however, as the Gonzales rain gauge stopped working during snowfall in February and again in December, he said. “So the total precipitation recorded by [Environment Canada] was 910.6mm, which would make it the third wettest year on record.
Murray said he used data from the nearest Environment Canada weather station at the University of Victoria to estimate the missing amounts.
It is also the wettest meteorological fall (from September 1 to November 30), with 510 mm of rain. Precipitation during those three months was equal to more than 80% of the average annual precipitation in Greater Victoria, Murray said.
This year, the region experienced two of the 10 wettest days of all time on record – 72.6mm on November 15 (7th wettest) and 71.4mm on October 28 (9th wettest).
Back in July, and there hasn’t been a drop of precipitation that month.
This was only the sixth time since record keeping since the late 1800s that there was no record of precipitation in July, Murray said.
A parched July led to the third longest streak without measurable rain – 53 days from June 15 to August 6.
The record remains a dry spell of 63 days established in 1926, followed by a period of 54 days in 1986.
Contrary to popular belief, Victoria is the driest city in Canada during the summer months, Murray said, citing the 30-year average precipitation from June to August.
Victoria receives 54.4mm on average, far less than Kamloops (92.5mm), Nanaimo (97.2), Penticton (103.3) and Kelowna (115.2).
Vancouver gets 126mm and cities in British Columbia are all drier than Calgary (216.5mm), Edmonton (223.2), Toronto (225.3), Winnipeg (246.5), Montreal (270, 4) and Halifax (285.2).