Alberni connection to Eastern “Summer in March” records?

Now that was a nice Saturday! It’s still 8C as I write, but dropping fast as the clear skies allow all that nice warmth to escape. It got up to a very pleasant 12.4C on my station, which is pretty normal for this time of year.

We can expect the same tomorrow before clouds start to invade Monday and then the rain comes back on Tuesday.

The weather news of the year so far though is the “Summer in March” that most of central and Eastern North America has experienced over the past couple weeks.

Unprecedented, astonishing, record-breaking, these are all worthy adjectives. Make no mistake, records have fallen at incredible rates over the past little while.

Jeff Masters again has a great rundown of some of what’s going on, including this tidbit, note the bold added:

The 29.2°C (85°F) measured at Western Head, Nova Scotia yesterday was the third warmest temperature ever recorded in Canada in March, according to Environement Canada and weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera (top two records: 31.1°C at Alberini Beaver Creek BC on March 29th 1926, and 29.4°C in 1921 at Wallaceburg.)

Hey Mom! That’s Us! 😀

So I did some digging in the climate data for stations around Alberni and found something interesting:

There were two stations recording temperatures at that time, one in Beaver Creek (in the Valley), and one in the City of Port Alberni (at the head of the Inlet).

Here’s the data for March 1926 for both stations:

You can see the record circled along with the corresponding reading in the City. It noted a major 8C difference. This is an unusually large difference. If you look at all of the other temperatures for the month, it was a nice warm month, but generally the difference was not any more than 2 or 3C.

So I am left a little suspicious at that 31.1C reading only because it is so out of line with the trend. Now it could be that having such a hot day in March, it might have been foggy in the City and the fog stuck around for a longer time, and so there was less time for it to heat up… whereas out in Beaver Creek there may not have been any fog, and it started to warm as soon as the sun rose.

What’s more, I checked the stations at other Valley and local locations Lake Cowichan, Nanaimo, and Chilliwack for the same date, and they recorded 21.1C, 16.7C and 20.6C respectively.

So I am left sceptical that little old Beaver Creek could have been so far above the rest.

All that said…. If there needs to be any proof that the weather can be strange, then it has been the last week and there is also no doubt that regardless if the Beaver Creek temperature still holds the top temperature for March in Canada or not, there has never, in the history of record keeping in Canada, been a sustained heat wave in March like this one.

Jeff Masters says he’s never seen daytime lows beating all-time highs. We’re seeing records being broken by 10s of degrees. We are seeing March highs beating all time records for April.

I noticed on this blog of a prairie Environment Canada meteorologist an anonymous commenter mentioned:

Biggest and most intense heat wave I have ever seen. Very close to the Moscow one.[link]

That brings up the dark question. What would have happened if a heatwave of this difference and calibre happened in the middle of summer?

I consider this a warning. Are we listening yet?

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