The fountain in front of the B.C. Legislature frozen over last month (File photo)

Meteorologist says March is still going to be cold in Victoria

Brace for another record-breaking month

Weakening westerly jet streams around the poles allowed cold arctic winds to sweep through Canada and parts of the U.S., eventually stalling on the Island, leading to a month long freeze that still promises a couple chilly weeks to come.

In March so far there have been five days below -2 degrees in Victoria when normally there would only be 1.1 such days, according to data from Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Temperatures from Victoria International Airport indicate this February is the second coldest on record, with a four degree departure from normal.

“What’s impressive is that the arctic outflow reached the coast and stayed so consistent all the way through the month,” said Armel Castellan, meteorologist at the agency.

The temperature signal in March, too, is looking very much colder than normal.

ALSO READ: February sees extreme weather records

“The overnight low temperatures – those are gonna stay three, four, even five degrees colder than normal as they have for the past five days – and they’re slowly getting toward what’s considered seasonal somewhere in the second half of March,” Castellan said.

Flower counts this year are going to be “pretty interesting,” he noted.

The cold wave is relative to the polar air mass that leaked down south, also known as the polar vortex by media, which moved from the poles down into Canada and the northern part of the lower 48, Castellan added.

“It was actually mostly over Quebec and Ontario, and then down to Chicago and those areas. And then it retrograded, meaning it moved west, and in that process, I guess that was late January, it eventually went through [continental] B.C. and reached the coast on the second of February.

Emergency shelter beds have been open nearly consistently in Greater Victoria since February 3rd.

Usually a westerly storm clashes with the continental air with enough strength to displace the cold and “erode it all the way down to the lowest levels,” Castellan said. In this case, however, the cold was strong enough to shield off the low-pressure system.

Enough low pressure systems from the Pacific had come through, but they were only moderate in strength, he added.

The cold front was at such a stable pattern that, unusually, it stuck around.

ALSO READ: Victoria’s extreme weather protocol active for unusually long stretches in February

“There were very small amounts of real Pacific air to clash with it – enough, obviously with all the snow that we saw in February, and that was still record breaking, but that was very little rain in contrast. Usually rain will still dominate,” Castellan said.

“But all told, they stayed as a snow event as opposed to snow changing to rain, which often on the coast is what we’ll see.”

The clash gave us the majority of snow days Feb. 10, 11 and 14.

Precipitation from the Pacific winds tends to form as rain when the Arctic front reaches the coast. Areas like Tofino and Port Hardy get hit the hardest on the eastern side of Vancouver Island, whereas Victoria is shielded from the southeast and southwest, where the Olympic Peninsula blocks approaching clouds, Castellan said.

ALSO READ: Winter freeze hits Victoria

Projections looking into future years and decades are still being talked about at the scientific and academic level and has yet to be concluded, but “nothing is really changing looking forward,” he added.

“At least the concept is there for people to digest and to understand that things like a drought patterns that we’ve seen on and off, mostly on for the past five summers, is also a similar impact of slacker jet stream.”

We’re now seeing the weakened jet stream in the winter time manifest itself in what is maybe counter intuitive – colder temperatures even though our overall temperature trend is warming in the last half century or so.

swikar.oli@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Ambitious B.C. Aviation Museum need $10M to get iconic Lancaster back in the air

Volunteers flock to work on bomber, restoration expected to take 10 years

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority to fall fake eagle tree at Ogden Point

Last year a fake tree was installed to try to entice eagles to stay in the area, without much success

Saanich to potentially host first hydrogen fuel station on Vancouver Island

Station proposed for corner of Quadra Street and McKenzie Avenue

Saanich to recognize Coun. Judy Brownoff for a quarter century on council

Award presentation will take place Monday evening

Langford man sentenced to 15 months for child pornography collection

Andre Mollon sentenced for posession of more than 1,000 child pornography images and 70 videos

Victoria hosts ‘Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave’

The hockey cave was recently featured on a Netflix special

Inspirational Vancouver Island youngster dies after battle with brain cancer

Kaiden Finley ‘was seriously the strongest 11-year-old’

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

Most Read