January 2020 Summary – A lot of Rain – Some Snow – an Earthquake – and a Fire.

A very rainy, but not quite record rainy, month.

The Alberniweather and Alberni Valley Climate Summary for January 2020

This was quite a notable month. First and foremost, it was very very wet. The official Alberni Airport station recorded precipitation on 29 of the 31 days. (that includes snowy days) We got a lot more days of heavy rain than normal as well.

The Airport recorded approximately 558 mm of rain which is twice as much as a normal January in the 1981-2010 period. It is the most the Airport station has ever recorded since 1994 but it is not a record for all stations in the Valley.

Robertson Creek’s highest ever was 680 mm in 1968 and 641 in 1992. In the Beaver Creek station’s 50 years it never saw more than its first year 1896, with 586 mm.

The highest value recorded at a station of long record near town was 627 mm at the Somass station in 1992 but Lupsi Cupsi (beside the Paper Mill) got 730 mm in 1968. That is the highest amount ever recorded in the Valley for January. Alberni Elementary got 585 mm and I got approximately 615 mm at my station this month.

So while this January was definitely approaching record territory and managed to hit a couple daily records at the airport on the 18th and 31st as well, it didn’t quite eclipse the rainiest days Port Alberni has seen.

Temperatures near average to above

As for temperatures, it was quite close to normal in both the City and Valley areas but the City was warmer. The Airport was just 0.3ºC above normal for the month and the City stations were 1.0ºC above normal overall.

The Airport had primarily higher high temperatures than normal whereas the City has higher low temperatures than normal.

Not much snow…

We did receive multiple days of snow toward the last half of the month but these would not have been remarkable compared to past years. The lack of snow generally at low elevations (this was the second year in a row where the “First Snow” contest was won in January!) should be concerning. This is also translating to a below normal snowpack. The River Forecast Centre will have their latest snowpack report out next week.


I almost forgot to mention the 4.5M earthquake that rattled folks all over the Island. It’s not often that we actually feel an earthquake that has occurred under the water off the west coast, but we did on the 24th!

Tragedy in Australian climate emergency fuelled chaos.

I want to end this summary with a note to all the firefighters and many others who have lost their lives in Australia battling the horrendous fires across multiple states in that country. This month an aircraft was lost as well. It was from a firefighting company from the Port Alberni based Coulson group of companies.

This company has taken it upon itself to apply its considerable expertise to be on the front lines of the climate emergency. These men and women risk their lives to try to tackle the near impossible task of taming the fires. May they rest in peace.

End of Summary. Data and detail below.

Daily and All Time Records Set

Set at the Airport* since 1994 and compared to other stations** for “All Time” since 1900.

Two high rain records set. Neither eclipsed all time highs for the day.

  • Jan 18 high rain 53.4 mm: #1 is 85.1 mm at Robertson Creek in 1968. (The shorter lived China Creek station actually recorded 94.5mm on the same day)
  • Jan 31 high rain 57.1 mm: #1 is 91.7 mm at Port Alberni City in 1924.

January 2020 City Station Data Comparisons

Mean Min, Mean, and Mean Max Temperature, 
Total Precipitation and Highest Wind

Monthly City and Airport Values
Compared to Normal

Differences from Normal at the Airport (Valley)

-0.0° C, +0.3º C, +0.6º C +219.4 mm (165%)

This Month’s Values

Differences from Normal in the City (Sea Level)

+1.8° C, +1.0º C, +1.1º C+318.4 mm (217%)

This Month’s Values

Official Days of Precipitation at Airport*

Normal DaysDays This Month
>= 0.2 mm: 21.6 :  29
>= 5 mm:  13.3 : 24
>= 10 mm: 10.3 : 19
>= 25 mm: 4.9 : 10

* May have used backup Environment Canada Data source at WeatherStats.ca or Missing Data (January 2020)

**^^ Missing Data from Airport, Alberniweather broke existing Airport record temperature. Temperature at Alberniweather will be different. Usually Alberniweather underestimates temperatures in summer compared to Airport.

** Short Term means since 1995 at the new AVRA Airport.  Airport Records are compared to the 30+ year weather stations of record since 1900 (1895 for rain) at Beaver Creek, Port Alberni "City" and Robertson Creek.  Note that records pre 1950 may be more likely to over-estimate high temperatures.

***Rain gauge faulty. ****Alberni Elementary station offline.

****Nick's data currently unavailable (not Nicks fault :)) 

^Estimated amount, as new rain gauge installed on the 7th, used Alberni Elementary totals before that date.

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