March was supposed to be a wet month with above normal precipitation, but totally defied forecasts.
Statistics furnished by Vancouver Island weather observer Chris Carss indicate nearly half the month, 15 days, were sunny or partly sunny and dry and an additional five days had partial sunshine with some light rainfall for a total of 20 days with at least some sunshine. The normal number of sunny or partly sunny and dry days is eight.
“Rainfall amounts were accordingly very low for the time of year with only about a third of our normal monthly rainfall,” noted Carss, who records the weather from his home base in Chemainus.
Total rainfall was a mere 45.0 millimetres, well below the normal of 126.3 mm. With no snowfall during the month and a normal of 6.0 centimetres, that left the total precipitation even farther below the normal of 132.3 mm.
The number of days with rainfall was exactly the same as the number of sunny dry days. However, adding in the days with mixed weather – rain and sun – put those 20 days with at least some sunshine at the top of the leader board for what is usually a fairly wet month.
Although the number of dull cloudy days without significant sunshine was down sharply, every one of those few grey days this March produced at least a bit of light rainfall.
The highest temperature in March of 13.5 Celsius came at the very beginning on the first.
“This was followed by a mid-month cold snap that drove the early morning temperature all the way down to the freezing point on the 16th,” Carss added. “However, milder weather returned towards the end of month.”
The high on the 27th came close to matching the mark set on the first. Following that, two days of strong winds approaching gale force cut short the brief mild spell and brought March to an end with relatively cool but seasonal temperatures.
“In fact, when the changeable temperatures were averaged for the month, the values turned out to be the only statistics that were right on normal,” Carss indicated. “Normally this would have brought some snowfall to the Chemainus Valley during the cooler periods around the Ides of March, but the lack of precipitation helped prevent the occurrence of the white stuff this month.”
“April started off with a mix of sun an cloud, but the indications now are that the new month will continue the trend of near normal temperatures with a fair amount of sunshine and mostly light rainfall that will likely remain below normal until late in the month,” Carss pointed out.
“By then, the rain may start to escalate and bring our final totals closer to seasonal normals. However, confidence in the longer range outlooks is a bit low right now because of the poor performance of the original March outlooks. Accordingly, we might be dealing with a dry spring and an early summer, possibly by May, which could portend a long dry stretch ahead with a summer of forest fires and watering restrictions as a possible worst case scenario.”
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