Hot and dry conditions forecast to continue in the Cowichan Valley, but drought conditions have yet to be as severe as last year. (File photo)

Hot and dry conditions forecast to continue in the Cowichan Valley, but drought conditions have yet to be as severe as last year. (File photo)

No drought yet for Cowichan, but hot and dry conditions expected to continue

Environment Canada forecasting hot weather into August

What a difference a year makes.

This time last year, the Cowichan Valley and much of the region were under severe Level 4 drought conditions for about a month.

But this year, despite the hot and sunny weather experienced recently, the drought level is currently at just Level 2, which indicates conditions that are merely dry.

Brian Dennison, the water manager at the Cowichan Valley Regional District, said the reason goes back to the wet winter and spring the region experienced this year.

“It’s pretty warm and dry now, but it was really wet and cool last winter and into the spring which has really helped the water situation so far this year,” he said.

“It’s only been like this for a few weeks so drought conditions have not had time to develop. Last year, we had a super dry March and April and that set the stage for water problems last summer.”

However, Dennison said the province will review its drought rating this week and, with the warm and dry conditions expected to continue, it may change accordingly.

He said some of the 19 water systems in the CVRD have reached Stage 2 and 3 water restrictions so far this year, but most are still currently at Stage 1.

“We expect more water restrictions will be necessary if the hot and dry conditions continue,” he said.

And the present conditions are likely to continue, according to Environment Canada.

Meteorologist Cindy Yu said a trough of low pressure is currently making its way across B.C,, but only the tail of it is expected to impact the southern Island and Cowichan Valley areas.

“This would normally be the leading edge to a cold front, but as it is, the hot and dry conditions are expected to continue, with a few clouds possibly this weekend. Overall, we’re expecting temperatures to be in the mid 20s until Monday, and then another high pressure system is expected that will see the temperatures reach the high 20s next week.”

Yu said the weather will likely remain hot and dry until at least mid-August.

“But we’ll have to wait and see,” she said.