Cowichan Valley Poised to Avoid Summer Drought
Some experts say the 2019 drought was the worst one since the Cowichan Weir was built in the 50's. Robertson River, below Honeymoon Bay Road. Supplied by Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society.
Environment Canada isn’t prepared to say that 2020 won’t result in a drought, but weather patterns are trending in the right direction.
Take July for example, in North Cowichan the weather stations indicate that we have nearly 70 percent of our average monthly precipitation with more than half of the month remaining.
There are no guarantees when it comes to the weather and things can change quickly and Meteorologist Lisa Erven with Environment and Climate Change Canada said that’s why it’s too hard to predict whether or not we’ll avoid a drought.
“All it takes is a flip in the weather pattern to a predominant ridge of high pressure and, as we saw last year, can last to months on end and completely flip the conditions,” said Erven.
Erven said Nanaimo saw a 112 percent increase in precipitation this May compared to May of last year. In June, 63.6 millimetres fell as compared to last June, when 31.8 millimetres accumulated.
Erven said the additional precipitation has many benefits, but climate experts are taking it a week at a time.
“We have been trending normal or wetter than normal for precipitation and that’s been good in terms of our water supply in many areas of the province,” said Erven. “It’s also been great in keeping the forest fire risk down, but how the rest of the summer pans out, we’re really going to have to look at things one week at a time and keep our eyes out for a pattern flip to a persistent ridge of high pressure.”
As of June 15, the River Forecast Centre reported that snowpack on Vancouver Island was 11 percent of normal as compared to last July when it was two percent of what is deemed normal.