Heat wave passes quickly through Valley

Areas around the Cowichan Valley broke heat records earlier this week, but the warm and sunny weather is over, at least for now.

  • Apr. 22, 2016 9:00 a.m.

ROBERT BARRON CITIZEN

Areas around the Cowichan Valley broke heat records earlier this week, but the unseasonably warm and sunny weather is over, at least for now.

Matt MacDonald, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said the agency’s closest weather station is in Nanaimo, which broke the record with a temperature of 25.1 C on Monday.

But he said valleys tend to trap heat and can be as much as four degrees warmer than surrounding areas.

A weather station at Lake Cowichan’s Palsson Elementary School recorded Monday’s high temperature as approximately 22 C, and went as high as 28 C on Tuesday.

“But we’re certainly at the end of the warm weather for the time being,” MacDonald said.

“The massive ridge of high pressure that was covering all of Western Canada for many days started getting weaker on Thursday, and now we have cooler and wetter conditions expected through the weekend.”

As for the long-range forecast for the south-Island region, MacDonald said it’s “hard to judge” but some predictions can be made based on current conditions.

He said the El Nino that had been keeping the ocean water off of B.C. warmer than usual during the last year is still in place.

So it’s expected that the temperatures this spring and the first part of the summer will be approximately one to two degrees warmer on the Island, and most parts of the province.

But MacDonald said it’s harder to accurately predict the amount of rain the valley will have in the coming weeks and months.

“Cooler low-pressure systems can form pretty quickly at this time of year and can sit for weeks and even months at a time,” he said.

“But it’s hard to say if one will set up over the Island later this spring at this early date, or how long it will stay in place.”