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.

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.

 

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)

Cross Canada Deep Freeze

Courtesy Accuweather.com

Courtesy Accuweather.com

Much of Canada – the exception being the West Coast – fell into a deep freeze this week with the coldest weather yet this winter.

The coldest of the Arctic blast was over Central Canada where temperatures plummeted to -45.1 C this morning in Armstrong, Ontario and -46.3 C in Lac Benoit, Quebec.

In Greater Moncton, the temperature is expected to drop to -22 C by tomorrow morning and a bitter wind chill of -34 by evening.

Forecasters say the cold snap could last a couple weeks with a slight warm up expected this weekend.

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%

White Christmas 2011

25 Dec 2011 (courtesy NOAA)

After weeks of green and little snow in December, Greater Moncton managed to have a White Christmas afterall.

From Friday 23 December to Saturday 24 December, about 12 cm of snow fell over the region.

Since temperatures were especially cold due to an Arctic high pressure system which moved in afterward (dipping to -19.9 C), the snow had no chance of melting.

As per the map above, much of Canada had a White Christmas with the exceptions being Southern Ontario, southern Prairies and the West Coast.

However, Environment Canada is forecasting plenty of rain and mild temperatures for mid-week in Greater Moncton which means the snow may not stick around for New Year’s.