Easter Weekend Mini-Atmospheric River and Looking at Frost Free Days on the Island

Rainy Easter - But How Rainy - Also Looking at Frost Free Days

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Which is more "Frost Free" - Victoria or Tofino?

I was asked by a reader to settle a bit of a bet. The question was which location has more frost free days, Victoria or Tofino?

The good news is this information is fairly easy to come by from Environment Canada – But – they don’t record it for every one of their climate stations.

You can find it on Environment Canada’s “Canadian Climate Normals” resource. You just need to pick one of the 30yr date ranges and a location.

I’ll use the most recent 1981-2020 climate data:

Victoria, BC (International Airport - Elevation 20m)

You can see from the data here, Victoria enjoys 211 days Frost-Free between about April 7 and November 5. It’s worth noting that Comox Airport has an identical 211 Frost Free days (April 5 to Nov 3) in their data as well.

Victoria BC (International Airport) Frost Free Data for 1981-2010 period.

Tofino, BC (International Airport - Elevation 24m)

Tofino BC has just a few days less at 206 frost free days on average between April 10 and November 3. 

Tofino BC - Elevation 24m - Frost Free Days 1981-2010 Period

I would suggest that considering the difference is less than a week, then the practical difference is marginal at best. There will likely be years where Tofino and Victoria swap first or last frost dates. 

Port Alberni frost free?

Unfortunately, none of the climate stations in Port Alberni or any on the Central island have the Frost Free Days tab listed on the Environment Canada website. So we cannot make a direct comparison.

The anecdotal evidence, given our traditionally cooler mornings, especially in the Valley, and later spring time blossoms, would suggest we have a shorter frost-free season than either Victoria or Tofino.

If we go by 2022’s data  when the last and first 1ºC temperature was measured as a morning low in the Spring and Autumn respectively we get:

  • May 13 at Alberniweather (1.1ºC)  – May 19 at the Airport (1.4ºC)
  • October 23 at both Alberniweather (0.5ºC) and the Airport (-3.0ºC
  • Frost Free Days in 2022: 163 days in town, 157 at the Airport.
Last Autumn was a pretty early frost!

Rainy Easter and Ramadan

I hope you are able to enjoy the long weekend, in its entirety and with family and friends around you.

Unfortunately, there will be a little bit of rain, but we’re tough here in the Alberni Valley so I’m sure folks will still be out in the weather when they can!

Friday dry morning

The 8AM UWash picture for Friday shows the current system moving into the Interior. The Island dries out.

Friday will actually start dry! It should stop raining overnight on Thursday and we might even see a few breaks in the clouds through the day on Friday before the next system rolls in overnight.

Expect it to rain all night Thursday though, so if you are travelling to get to Family for Friday, it will be wet. (but hopefully, only wet, no snow on the Island.

Wet Saturday that continues...

The 8AM UWash picture for Saturday shows a large system on the Island.

It gets wet again starting early Saturday morning as a big system moves in over the whole Island. You can expect it to be raining when you wake up and it will probably rain all day.

It will not move quickly. This could be a risk for flooding if the high elevation snowpack starts to melt.


Atmospheric River Sunday?

I am concerned for Sunday as the rain from Saturday doesn’t truly stop before a 3rd wave of precipitation enters the picture and delivers what looks like the beginnings of an Atmospheric River with a long band of precipitation stretching down to the Southwest and feeding heavy rain onto the Island and Sunshine Coast.

Thankfully, it does slide down the Island gradually through the day and night on Sunday. By Monday morning the line of precipitation is focused more on Oregon, Puget Sound and the Fraser Valley.

We should dry out on the Island for the most part on Easter Monday though there will be some lingering showers.


Have a wonderful Easter Weekend!

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