Possibly record rain hits Tofino. Labour Day looks OK. Campfire ban may be lifted soon.

It may have been a record setting day on Tuesday in Tofino.  Port Alberni only had a little bit of rain but the West Coast got hammered  with 60mm falling at Ucluelet Secondary School and over 100mm falling at Wickinninish Community School in Tofino!

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Environment Canada has not published data from their Tofino (A) station for yesterday yet but that station goes back 75 years to when the Airport was built in WWII.  The record rainfall for August 30th is 62 mm in 1961. So if a similar amount of rain fell at the Tofino Airport, then it seems likely that record will be broken.

Looking ahead, the rain will continue on the West Coast and South Island but Port Alberni will miss a large part of it. There is also a slight chance of some thunderstorm activity today through Friday.

Here is what the models show for the coming days:

Rain colour scale with millimetres (top) and centi-inches (bottom)
Rain colour scale with millimetres (top) and centi-inches (bottom)


Wednesday we see a band of strong rain across the South Island Mill Bay and Cowichan area.
24hr accumulation between Wednesday 5AM and Thursday 5AM shows most rain concentrated on West and South Island but Alberni Valley has equal amount.
Thursday (5AM-5AMFri) 24hr total has major rain for South end of Island but the Alberni Valley and West Coast north of Port Renfrew are spared.
Friday 24hr total shows some rain returning to Port Alberni but most again staying on the South Island.
Here is the 3 day total from Friday 5AM to Monday 5AM. Only a marginal amount of precipitation for that Long Weekend stretch so in all we should be mostly dry for Salmon Derby, but cool. Good fishing weather though there may be some windy conditions on the exposed coasts and in the Inlet.

Campfire Ban likely to be lifted soon but wait for confirmation.

The Fire ban was lifted for the Coast on Tuesday *except* the south area of Vancouver Island including Port Alberni as you can see below.

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Given the significant rainfall expected in the next 3 days, I would expect that the campfire ban will be completely lifted on Friday but we’ll have to wait to see if that actually happens.

Switch to Cool Wet for a few days – Climate Change causes Cedar trees to freeze

After two weeks of pretty consistent heat, there is a definite shift in the pattern as the ridge of high pressure has broken and the jet stream positions itself closer to our area. The top image is the jet today.  You can see it looping around a low pressure area that will bring some showers mostly to the north end of Vancouver Island.

image image The bottom image is Sunday where we can see the eddy in the flow break up and move away and the full force of the jet is predicted to come our way.  It is too early though to say whether that means more rain on the weekend.  I will have another update Wednesday that should have better clues.

Despite what EC is saying, UWash is expecting Monday (top image below) to be mostly dry in Port Alberni.


Tuesday will see more widespread showers with some in Port Alberni in the afternoon but most of the activity is modelled to occur on the West and East and South sides of the Island and miss Port Alberni.


Wednesday things linger a little in Port Alberni but generally dry out.


As I said above, I will post another update Wednesday for a first good look at the Labour Day Long Weekend and Port Alberni Salmon Festival!

Yellow Cedar trees get cold feet and die.

Some really interesting and very long term research has come up with an explanation on why Yellow Cedar in Alaska and BC have been dying over the past 40 years.  The answer? Global Warming is freezing them to death!

The excellent Hakai Magazine explains the paradox. Scientists started looking into this in 1981. It has taken them until now to figure it out.


Nothing panned out. “We started to run out of possible biological causes,” Hennon says.

That’s when they went broader, looking at soil composition and mapping out where trees were dying or healthy. … The cedars, they found, were dying at low elevations where the soil was wet and roots were shallow. “We started to cook up this hypothesis that it was a freezing injury affecting the shallow roots,” Hennon says. Proving that wasn’t easy.

In addition to their main support roots, yellow cedars have a series of very fine feeder roots, which supply trees with water and nutrients. … “They die and turn over on a cycle,” Hennon says. Still, they noticed that many of the trees they dug up were devoid of feeder roots.

Hennon’s partners in Vermont tested root tissue by exposing them to colder and colder temperatures and measuring how badly the cells were damaged. That’s when the truth was revealed: although yellow cedar lives in very cold environments, the species is actually quite vulnerable to extremely cold weather.

That’s where climate change comes in. Snow in coastal environments normally acts as insulation from the coldest weather. It keeps soil in this region at temperatures just above freezing. Climate change, however, means less snow, which can lower soil temperatures to -5 °C—which is lethal to the roots.

If snow patterns weren’t changing, yellow cedars wouldn’t have a problem. But warming weather now [not] only means that some winters have less snow, they can also be followed by an influx of colder continental air from the interior of British Columbia and the Yukon.

That’s the irony of yellow cedar decline: “It’s freezing to death in a warming climate,” Hennon says.

These conditions don’t happen every year, and the researchers now feel it takes several injurious seasons to kill a yellow cedar tree.

And that is how a tree can die from the cold due to a warming goobe and changing climate.  The conditions these trees have lived in for millenia are changing rapidly.

This means there are now two major species of trees in BC directly impacted by climate change, the Lodgepole Pine in the interior which has been seen 50% of its merchantible timber lost due to the Mountain Pine Beetle outbreak (itself caused by the beetles not being killed off by winter cold as they had been before) that started in the 1990s and now the Yellow Cedar.  interesting times.