Winter sunrise at Bare Point. (Photo by Ruth Hill)

Winter sunrise at Bare Point. (Photo by Ruth Hill)

January’s weather in the region all over the map

Five distinct phases in an ever-changing mid-winter landscape

The weather can be rather volatile in the Chemainus Valley and adjacent areas of eastern Vancouver Island and January provided a perfect example.

Chris Carss, a volunteer weather observer/recorder for Environment and Climate Change Canada at his Chemainus home, broke down last month’s weather recap into five distinct phases that certainly makes our region unique compared to other parts of Canada.

The first phase, he noted, from Jan. 1-6, was “seasonably cool with mostly cloudy skies and occasional light rain.”

On to the second phase from Jan. 7-13, Carss indicated that week featured “heavier, more frequent rain and temperatures gradually becoming milder. Greatest rainfall occurred on the 12th just ahead of an extra shot of mild air that produced the highest temperature of the month on the 13th. Sunny breaks oddly became more frequent despite the increase in wet weather. Greatest number of mixed weather days with rain and partial sunshine occurred during this phase.”

For the third phase from Jan. 14-23, there was a gradual return to more seasonal temperatures with a few sunny breaks and declining rainfall.

Carss observed the fourth phase from Jan. 24-29 was characterized by “seasonal temperatures and mostly dry. Dividable into a couple of short sub-phases, the first three days with nearly overcast cloud and occasional sprinkles of rain followed by three more days with sunny breaks. Unlike the second phase, no mixed weather days. Days with very light rain and days with occasional sunshine pretty well mutually exclusive.”

And, finally, the fifth phase on Jan. 30-31 “turned chilly with the lowest temperature of the month recorded on the 30th,” Carss noted. “Overnight lows mostly near or below freezing point. Morning snow on the last day of the month which changed to rain in the afternoon and melted all or most of the snow.”

Following is a breakdown of the January statistics:


Mean daily maximum 7.3 C, normal 6.8 C.

Mean minimum 3.7 C, normal 2.3 C.

Extreme maximum 12.0 C on Jan. 13.

Extreme minimum -3.0 C on Jan 30.


Days mostly or partly sunny and dry 9, normal 5.

Days with mixed weather (sunshine and precipitation) 4.

Total days mostly or partly sunny (including mixed weather days) 13.


Total days with precipitation (including mixed weather days) 18, normal 20.

Total accumulated rainfall 174.7 mm, normal 231.1 mm

Total accumulated snowfall 3.8 cm; normal 21.0 cm.

On Thetis Island, January 2023 brought the lowest rainfall in the last five years for January with 149.6 mm, according to statistics from Keith Rush at his Foster Point Road residence.

By comparison, January 2022 had 170.5 mm, January 2021 227.5 mm, January 2020 379.7 mm (a record for all months) and January 2019 162.8 mm. The average for January on Thetis is 174.1 mm.

February began with a continuation of January’s chilly end, but more seasonal weather quickly returned.

Temperatures are expected to remain near normal until around mid-month, Carss pointed out, with occasional sunny breaks interspersed with periodic light rain.

“The second half of February will see an interruption in our customary transition to spring,” he added. “Temperatures to drop to about two degrees below normal with a continuation of occasional rain and brief sunny breaks possibly complicated by the arrival of some snow flurries or periods of wet snow.”


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Eagle on Penelakut Island doesn’t seem impressed with the snowfall on the last day of January. (Photo by Donna L. Brown)

Eagle on Penelakut Island doesn’t seem impressed with the snowfall on the last day of January. (Photo by Donna L. Brown)

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