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Record-breaking heat wave wiped out a wet start to June on Vancouver Island

Surprisingly, precipitation total for the month close to normal for Chemainus and Thetis Island
A beautiful Saltair sunset in late June. (Photo by Opie Williams)

Remember when we were referring to last month as June-uary?

June did produce a decent amount of rain on Vancouver Island, but it’s long forgotten by now and being remembered more as the start of a long dry spell that continues to this day.

Keith Rush recorded 44.3 millimetres of rain at his Thetis Island weather station during June, only slightly less than last year’s 50.3 mm.

“Wow, that 44 millimetres seems like an awfully long time ago after this week’s heat wave,” he conceded.

The average June on Thetis yields 30.5 mm of rain.

However, the precipitation year-to-date total for Thetis is 434.9 mm, way below the total at this time last year of 628.9 mm.

The heat though, that was exactly what you remember.

“June was a record-breaking month for summer heat this year to an extent never before seen,” recounted Chris Carss, a volunteer weather observer/recorder for Environment Canada at his Chemainus home. “As reported here last week, a dome of very hot air sat over western North America from June 25 to 29 that caused temperature records across nearly all of Vancouver Island to be not just broken, but utterly smashed.”

The maximum temperature of 39.5 Celsius (102 Fahrenheit) in Chemainus reached on June 28 shot way past the old record of 35.5 C for the highest value ever officially recorded on any day of the year set back in 2009.

“The mean daily maximum of 24.5 Celsius for the entire month was more than three degrees Celsius above normal, a value that rarely exceeds two Celsius above the historical average, even during a hot summer.”

The mean daily minimum for the month was 14.1 C, with the normal being 11.8 C. The extreme minimum, which seems hard to believe now, was 6.5 C on June 7.

Related story: Far less rainfall, but lower maximum temperatures in May for the region

“The other main weather elements were a lot less exceptional with the number of mostly or partly sunny and dry days being five above normal and the total days with rain and total accumulated rainfall checking in with values almost right on normal,” Carss indicated. “When the wet days that also had some sunshine were added to the total sunny and dry days, the grand total of dry and wet days with some sunshine were still pretty close to normal.

“That all said, the extreme heat towards the end of June wiped out most moisture that may have been in the ground earlier in the month.”

Despite all the heat, the total June rainfall of 45.5 mm in Chemainus was actually two millimetres above the normal of 43.5 mm.

“July has started off with temperatures near or a little above normal and no rainfall since mid-June,” noted Carss.

“These values are expected to rise to the mid to upper 20s by mid-July with little of no rain. Some rain and a moderating in temperatures are expected in late July, but this is not expected to alleviate the water shortages before August, and maybe not then either.”

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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