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Southern Vancouver Island just finished its hottest August ever recorded

Ocean temperatures mean higher temperatures likely to continue into fall n B.C. coast
Greater Victoria saw only one millimetre of rain in August, resulting in extremely dry conditions that led to a heightened risk of wildfire, like the one seen here in Thetis Lake Regional Park. (Courtesy View Royal Fire Rescue)

Last month was the hottest August recorded in Greater Victoria.

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada data taken at the monitoring station at Victoria International Airport, the average temperature peaked at 18.6 C last month, compared to an average of 16.8 C in August, an average of all temperatures since records began in 1940. The summer – meteorological summers run from June 1 to Aug. 31. – as a whole was the fifth warmest since records began.

The heat was a provincewide phenomenon, according to Doug Lundquist, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, with around half of the province’s two dozen monitoring stations showing record high temperatures in August.

Last month was also the fifth driest August there has ever been with just one millimetre of rainfall cumulatively during the month of August at Victoria International Airport – 0.8 mm on Aug. 3 and 0.2 mm on Aug. 10. Those dry conditions could have spelled out a busy wildfire season, but June was wetter than usual, according to Lundquist, which helped combat that.

“The beginning of summer was thankfully wet because it was wetter than average the first half, but the last half was drier.”

Sunday (Sept. 4.) was the first rain Greater Victoria has seen since Aug. 10. Prior to Aug. 3, there was no rain for nearly a month, with 3.4 mm falling on July 7.

High temperatures and the lack of rain led the province to raise the drought level on Vancouver Island as well as Haida Gwaii back in August.

The Island’s rating now stands at 3 along the provincial scale from 0 to 5 (5 being the worst). Adverse impacts are possible at level 3, according to a statement from the Ministry of Forests, which may include impacts to fish rearing and change the timing of the salmon spawning.

Authorities are also asking residents to reduce their water usage wherever possible to help combat drought conditions in other areas.

Hotter conditions are likely to continue into the fall, said Lundquist.

“The one main reason is the water between here and Japan is extremely warm, it was record-breaking in some spots. Because most of our weather comes from the west, it’s going to come from the warm water, and that is likely going to result in a warm fall.”

READ MORE: Vancouver Island’s drought rating rises to level 3

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