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Meteorologist says Island and Coast had a warm winter season

With spring starting Wednesday, Environment Canada says it was a warm winter for Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

They recently put out a seasonal forecast showing that temperatures will be above normal throughout Canada, with Victoria expected to be 65 percent above normal.

Meteorologist Derek Lee says many places on the Island were the warmest on record in December.

“For Victoria, Comox, and Campbell River we saw the warmest winter on-record with an anomaly of 2.5 to 3 degrees warmer on-average,” said Lee.

“In January despite the month averaging out to normal we did have very good extremes where we got very warm and very cold. Because of those extremes they averaged out to normal and for February we were continuing to a much-more normal month as well, but that doesn’t really take away at that whole thing being warmer than normal.”

As part of the warmer season, areas like Port Alberni, Gibsons, and Sechelt saw temperature records fall over the weekend.

Lee says El Niño has played a part in the warmer weather, which not only brings warm temperatures to the surface but also for the mountains, affecting snowpack levels.

When it came to the effects, he says we have had less rain.

“This overall pattern was not good for the drought and definitely not good for the snowpack as well because we didn’t get enough snow to move into our spring melt season,” said Lee.

“Generally, a lot of the precipitation that falls in the wintertime is actually good for our water supply because we need that fresh snow up into the reservoirs to help us go into spring and early summer without being into drought that early. Because of those warm temperatures we have less of that.”

He says the recent heat is not bringing any hazards to the island currently.

He adds that for full melt potential to happen, there would need to be more similar events taking place in the lead-up to April and May.

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