Heat breaks but no rain. Drought Conditions. Unidentified Smoke lingers in Valley.

We had a definite change in airmass yesterday as winds blew in some high level clouds and cooler air that will moderate our temperatures nearer to normal for this time of year. (21º C)

We still managed to hit 29.1º C at the Airport on Wednesday!  Way above normal for June.  EC says we should stay in the mid-twenties but UWash is not as optimistic.

They have Thursday only reaching 20º C maximum.

wa_tsfc.24.0000-3And the same for Friday though with probably more pressure on the downside considering how dramatically the cooler air has invaded the whole region by then.  (notice the difference in the interior of Washington State between Thursday/Friday)

wa_tsfc.48.0000-4Saturday looks similar to Friday.  But then again, contrary to EC, UWash is predicting a recovery in temperatures for Monday back into the mid-twenties before cooling off again.

Still no June Rain

Despite the moderating temperatures there is no expectation for any rain on the South Island. Below are the 3 day accumulations from Wednesday through Saturday evening and Saturday through Tuesday evening.  The whole Pacific Northwest region looks very dry indeed.pcp72.72.0000 pcp72.144.0000The long range ensemble (ie. multiple) model forecast out to June 26th has only around 15mm of rain predicted and the uncertainties are pretty tight with the maximum only being 35mm.

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We have received 8mm of rain so far this month.  If we get the forecasted amount that would put us around 25mm total.    Normal is 62mm.

Province Declares Level 3 Drought Conditions

The province announced through the BC River Forecast Centre that the Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii region are in a Level 3 Drought classification based on river flow, precipitation normals, snowpack and forecasts for more warm dry weather.

There is more information from the Living Water Smart.ca website.

map-bc-drought-info_20150602If you are wondering what “Level 3 Drought” means, you’ll notice the “Very Dry” classification in the picture, but it is also of course much more than that.  This is a Provincial designation and is only partially related to the City or District water restrictions.

droughtinfo-levelsYou will notice the “Voluntary conservation and restrictions” objective in the table above.  That is where the City water restrictions come in.  The province will not be potentially intervening in water use decisions until we reach a Level 4 Drought situation. Even though it is very early in the year for us to be where we are at, we are lucky in our Valley that we are only on Stage 1 restrictions.  Other areas on the East and South sides of the Island are under much more strict restrictions already.  I expect we will have to get there as well in time given the forecast so I certainly encourage all to do what you can to conserve water.

If you want to read more about the Province’s Drought Response plan… here is the plan (PDF)!  I gave it a quick read yesterday.  It is comprehensive :).

This is a good table from that plan showing how they determine each level.

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We are very obviously well into Level 3 territory.  And I think Basin Snow, Seasonal Runoff and 30 Day % precipitation are likely in Level 4 territory.  So getting to Level 4 will depend on the final average streamflow value.  I don’t know where that is right now but I can’t imagine it is far off given anecdotal reports I have heard.

Here is an encouraging sign though.  From the AV Times web poll, which is never scientific but at least in this case, has what I would deem the “right” answer.

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I hope that is reflective of the whole community.  There is no doubt we will need to be vigilant.

Smoke fills Valley on Wednesday – Source unconfirmed – Fire Danger High

We had quite a bit of smoke invade the valley yesterday evening.  I smelt it first in my living room and thought it was a neighbour!  But upon looking out my sons bedroom window on the 2nd floor we noticed the obvious haze.

This was the view from my deck around 8PM last night.


And from my Father-In-Law across town as the sun set and the smoke cleared a little.

IMG_2349I did not hear an official report on the source of the fire but there were two active fires on the Island at the time.  A very small one near Kennedy lake that is now out (see below), and another small fire (5 Ha) fire that was just discovered Wednesday that is likely human casused.

The most up-to-date source of info for fires is the map from the BC Wildfire website which is linked from their “All Fires” page.  The All Fires listing only shows fires larger than 10 Hectares whereas the map shows everything.

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The fire danger rating remains unchanged at “High” for our area.  The entire Island is at high save for a couple pockets of Extreme in the Cowichan area and moderate on the west and north.


Those rating are expected to remain for the foreseeable future in our area.  The north and West Island might get back down to moderate or low depending how much rain they actually get.

The Province also initiated a ban on large industrial fires yesterday.  The next step if we get to Extreme conditions will likely be a campfire ban.  But no matter what, if you are in the woods, please use extreme caution.

Have a great Thursday everyone!






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