Cherry blossoms brighten B.C. coast

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Cherry blossoms in Vancouver,BC,15 April 2017 (CityofVancouver/Twitter)

Canada’s so-called Left Coast may have the mildest winters in the country but along with that comes a lot of cloudy skies and precipitation mostly falling as rain.

After a colder and snowier than usual winter, Vancouver experienced a gloomy March with the least amount of sunshine since records began in 1951 and it rained 28 out of 31 days.

So it’s no wonder, the sight of beautiful pink and white cherry blossoms is causing traffic troubles with so many drivers and pedestrians stopping to admire them.

The peak bloom is a bit later than normal this year thanks to dismal weather causing the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival to reschedule some events.

First snow in Vancouver since 2014

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A snowy downtown Vancouver, BC, 05 Dec 2016 (Instagram)


Between 5 and 10 centimetres of snow fell on Greater Vancouver during the morning commute today which created havoc on highways and bridges.

Vancouverites haven’t seen snow for at least 1,000 days when the last significant amount was recorded at the airport on 24 February, 2014.

An Arctic air mass is to blame for the snow and cold with Environment Canada showing temperatures barely climbing above freezing this week.

A weather statement has been issued indicating more snow could fall in Vancouver on Thursday.

Trio of storms hit B.C.’s south coast

Three storms in quick succession have battered the south coast of British Columbia delivering more than 200 mm of rain in some areas.

Strong winds gusting up to 100 km/h caused up to 300,000 power outages at one point and brought down at least 250 trees in Vancouver.

The series of storms were from the remnants of Super Typhoon Songda.

Powerful winds pound SW British Columbia

Two trees topple onto two houses, Vancouver, BC, 29 August 2015 (Twitter)

Two trees topple onto two houses, Vancouver, BC, 29 August 2015 (Twitter)


Strong winds gusting up to 80 km/h brought down trees and power lines in Greater Vancouver and British Columbia’s Lower Mainland.

At the peak of the wind storm, about half-a-million customers were without power in the region but crews had restored most by Sunday morning.

Vancouver officials blame a summer drought for making trees weaker and more susceptible which is why many came crashing down on homes and vehicles.

Environment Canada warns that more wind and rain is expected to impact the region over the next couple of days.

Smoke from B.C. forest fires invades Vancouver

Smoky sky over Vancouver, BC, 05 July 2015 (Vancouver Sun)

Smoky sky over Vancouver, BC, 05 July 2015 (Vancouver Sun)


Smoke from forest fires in southern British Columbia has led to an air quality advisory for Metro Vancouver and the south coast.

Environment Canada along with several partners issued the advisory over the weekend and cautioned residents with medical conditions to stay indoors.

Meantime, smoke from forest fires in northern Alberta and northern Saskatchewan has prompted air quality advisories across the Prairies as far south as Regina.

The year without winter – on Canada’s West Coast

 

Cherry blossoms in Victoria, BC, 28 February 2015 (Twitter)

Cherry blossoms in Victoria, BC, 28 February 2015 (Twitter)

The rest of Canada is resenting the coast of British Columbia this winter.

Why?  It’s simple really.  While most of Canada has been much colder and snowier than usual, the West Coast has been basking in spring-like temperatures all winter long.

Both Vancouver and Victoria have been well above normal with average daytime highs last month reaching 11 C and overnight lows which seldom dropped below freezing.

One noticeable example of the warmth is the sprouting of cherry blossoms about three weeks earlier than usual.

A large ridge of high pressure along the West Coast has kept Arctic air well to the east of British Columbia for weeks.

 

BC battered by stormy weather

English Bay, Vancouver, BC, 29 Sept 2013 (PNG)

English Bay, Vancouver, BC, 29 Sept 2013 (PNG)

A wintry-like storm delivering heavy wind and rain battered Southwestern British Columbia over the weekend.

Meteorologists say wind gusts were hurricane-force at Tofino on Vancouver Island last night near 105 km/h.

Numerous ferry crossings had to be cancelled between the island and the mainland during the turbulent weather.

Meantime, apple growers in the Okanagan Valley are counting their losses today after a hail storm blew through the region yesterday.

One farmer may have lost about 60 percent of his crop according to a neighbour.

Summer of 2013 so far…

Dickson Falls, Fundy National Park, 21 July 2013 (Dearing)

Dickson Falls, Fundy National Park, 21 July 2013 (Dearing)

We are now about six weeks into the summer of 2013 in Canada and it is time to assess the season to date.

Since astronomical summer began on 21 June, temperatures and precipitation have been generally above normal across the country except for the West Coast where it has been dry and the Prairies where it has been cooler than normal.

Here is a list of major cities across the country and how they compare to normal:

Moncton, NB……+2.1°C above normal temperature and 145% of normal rainfall

Saint John, NB…..+1.9 and 180%

Halifax, NS…….+2.4 and 141%

Charlottetown, PEI…..+1.0 and 91%

St. John’s, NL…..+1.5 and 118%

Montreal, QC…..+2.0 and 122%

Ottawa, ON…..+1.0 and 118%

Toronto, ON…….+2.3 and 284%

Winnipeg, MB……+0.4 and 112%

Regina, SK…..-0.1 and 43%

Edmonton, AB…..-0.1 and 103%

Calgary, AB……+0.5 and 76%

Vancouver, BC…..+1.5 and 71%

Whitehorse, YT…..+2.2 and 162%

Yellowknife, NT…..+1.9 and 42%

(Data courtesy Accuweather.com)

Chance of White Christmas

Downtown Moncton covered in snow (Dearing file)

Downtown Moncton covered in snow (Dearing file)

Given how huge Canada is, the chances of having a White Christmas depend on where you live.

The odds are less likely if you live along the West Coast, East Coast or Southern Ontario.

The odds are more likely if you live in the territories, Northern Ontario, Northern Quebec, Labrador, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

In Greater Moncton, Environment Canada says from 1955-2011, we had a 74% chance of having a White Christmas with the odds less likely in more recent years.

Here’s a sample list of cities across Canada:

St. John’s 63%
Halifax 58%
Fredericton 77%
Quebec City 98%
Montreal 77%
Ottawa 81%
Toronto 46%
Winnipeg 98%
Calgary 56%
Vancouver 11%
Yellowknife 100%

Snow slams BC and Pacific NW

Courtesy Accuweather.com

British Columbia’s Fraser Valley is getting hit with snow and lots of it – more than 20 cm at last count in Abbotsford.

Nearby Vancouver, Victoria and the Gulf Islands have gotten off easy this time with just a centimetre or two.

In a region normally accustomed to rain, the storm system is also dumping lots of snow over America’s Pacific Northwest with at least 30 cm (12 inches) expected for Seattle, Washington and 10-15 cm (6 inches) could fall in Portland, Oregon.

This is the most snow these cities have seen in at least 15 years.