R.I.P. El Nino 2018-19, says Chemainus weather observer Chris Carss.
“It was supposed to intensify in February and bring us an early spring,” he noted in his monthly weather summary from statistics compiled for Environment Canada. “In fact, it didn’t survive past the first day of the new month when we experienced our only above normal daytime temperature (9C) for the entire month. After that, it took only two days to slide down to 0.5C below normal with the coldest early morning temperature reaching 8C below normal (-6C) by the 10th.”
The snow only started gradually at first on Feb. 3, Carss indicated, but then accelerated sharply after a cold snap on the 10th.
“The worst of the snowstorms were over five days later when the temperatures turned a little milder and the precipitation changed back to our more usual rain,” he pointed out. “The second half of February was much more settled but remained chilly with a mix of daytime sun and cloud with some morning frost on the dry days and a mix of rain showers and snow flurries on the wet days.
“Although overall precipitation was a bit below normal, the surprise collapse of El Nino at the beginning of the month led to most of it manifesting as a ridiculous amount of snow that was nearly 10 times the normal and a residual rainfall that was less than a quarter of the usual amount.”
Carss noted the depth of snow on the ground peaked at 55 centimetres on Feb. 13, but the colder than normal temperatures for nearly the entire month limited the snow melt to a very gradual process. Nine cm was still left on the ground by the beginning of March.
Now for the February numbers:
Mean maximum temperature 4.3C (normal 8.4C); mean minimum -1.0C (normal 2.4C); extreme maximum 9.0C on Feb.1; extreme minimum -6.0C on Feb.10.
Days of mostly or partly sunny conditions 10 (normal days with sunshine 9); days of mostly cloudy conditions 18, of which 15 had precipitation (normal precipitation days 16).
Total snowfall 76.4cm (normal 8.6cm); total rainfall 27.4mm (normal 117.3mm); total precipitation 103.8mm (normal 125.9mm).
As for the rest of March, Carss sees it as a mixed bag.
“The chilly and mixed weather conditions that dominated the second half of February continued into the first week of March, with patchy snow cover still lingering in many areas of the Chemainus Valley,” he pointed out. “A return to more normal temperatures with daytime highs near 10 to 12C is expected by the middle of the month, along with the customary March mash-up of sun, cloud and showers.”