Long stretches of dry weather are unusual in April, but this is actually the second year in a row it’s happened on Vancouver Island.
The big difference this time has been much warmer temperatures than experienced last year earlier in April.
So much for the month’s showers bringing May flowers.
The first 10 days were fairly typical of April weather with variable cloud cover, occasional showers and near normal temperatures. But then the long foretaste of summer began with sunny and dry weather settling in April 11 and it hasn’t budged since.
“The main cause of the sunshine has been an unusually strong ridge of high pressure extending from Alaska to the Island and on down to California,” explained Chris Carss, a volunteer weather observer/recorder for Environment Canada at his Chemainus home. “For over a week it has showed very little movement. At first, temperatures remained very close to normal, with overnight lows just a degree or two above freezing which created widespread early morning frost under clear skies and daytime highs in the low to mid-teens.
”The temperature regime then warmed up rather quickly so that afternoon values got into the low 20s by the 18th, just in time for the weekend. As we headed into the current week, there were indications the high pressure ridge would weaken and that temperatures would begin to cool slowly to more normal values by the end of the week. There was also expected to be a return to much-needed rain by late Friday or early Saturday and, once again, just in time for the weekend.”
Last year’s similar stretch of pre-summer weather occurred between April 5 and 16, but the daytime temperatures climbed rather slowly through the mid to high teens and only made it to the low 20s once at the very end of the dry spell.
“After that, normal spring conditions returned and remained through May, a month that used to bring frequent early summer weather to the Island during the 2010 decade,” noted Carss. “With the arrival of the 2020s, May seems to have reverted to spring weather. With May no longer the harbinger of summer, it looks like summer weather will not return until well into June, further confirming a trend for later summers.
“This obliges Islanders wait until the June summer equinox before expecting any sustained summer weather. This seems to explain Canadian’s unwavering preference for the astronomical method of reckoning the weather and the seasons. This appears to be the case even though this system breaks down often enough to cause confusion and consternation in the media and many lame jokes about the weather not matching the calendar in media weather reports even though these contradictions occur quite frequently.”
Carss added the takeaway from all these shifting and evolving cycles of seasons and weather is systems used for predictions break down after a few years, requiring another system to help with predictions.
”So keep your spring clothes nearby when the weather is warm, and for the second time in this new decade, don’t expect a full-on arrival of summer weather until June,” he concluded.