Category Archives: Weather

Precipitation could still alter wildfire season severity: gov

Editor’s note: According to the provincial government’s March 8 Snow Conditions and Water Supply Bulletin, Vancouver Island has only 46% of its normal snowpack. Across the Salish Sea in the South Coast Basin, the snowpack is at 40%. While this does not sound good for Cortes and other Discovery Islands, which are just on the Vancouver Island side of these two areas, the following article states that Spring rains could make a big difference in what our summer looks like.  

By Abigail Popple, The Rocky Mountain Goat, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Despite the low snowpack that B.C. has seen this winter, it’s still too early in the year to determine whether drought will make the coming fire season more intense, experts say.

The Ministry of Water, Lands and Resource Stewardship released its monthly Snow Survey and Water Supply Bulletin on Friday. While storms during the last week of February brought the heaviest snowfall B.C. has seen this season, snowpack in the Upper Fraser East region – which encompasses the Robson Valley area – fell from 61 per cent of normal to 52 per cent of normal.

Continue reading Precipitation could still alter wildfire season severity: gov

Bring on the snow! Dakota Ridge reopens March 2

Editor’s note: While the recent snowfall is welcome, snowpacks are still way below normal. As of March 1, the BC Government snow report states the snowpack was only increased to 69% of median (from 64% on Feb 15). The most significant gains (11%) were on Vancouver Island. Dakota Ridge is southeast of Cortes on the Sunshine Coast. While Cortes Island’s aquifers are not dependent on mountain fed streams, we tend to be drier than surrounding areas and have been in the midst of recent droughts.

By Jordan Copp, Coast Reporter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Sunshine Coast residents have another chance to enjoy some winter recreation such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. 

With a favourable forecast on the horizon, Dakota Ridge recreational area is once again open to the public. 

Continue reading Bring on the snow! Dakota Ridge reopens March 2

‘Here we are talking about drought in February’

Editor’s note: When the rains finally started in October 2022, Cortes Island had received very little precipitation for 97 days. That was the first year Basil Creek came close to drying up and only about 10 Chum were able to swim upstream to spawn. The creek almost disappeared during the 2023 drought and some of Cortes Island’s shallow wells stopped recharging. On Quadra Island, I-CAN’s water security team responded to the drought by launching a project to gather data on the island’s ‘water budget,’ wetlands and wells, so they can be better prepared for the future. With Vancouver Island’s snowpacks currently 70% below normal, we may need a wetter than normal spring and summer to avert another drought in 2024.

Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Water security groups in B.C. are rallying to face another summer wracked by drought and wildfire after the province revealed the snowpack is 40 per cent lower than normal. And they are urging the provincial government to do the same. 

Extremely low snow levels across most of B.C., ongoing drought in certain areas of the province and unusually warm weather are increasing the risk of widespread drought and wildfire this spring and summer, according to the BC River Forecast Centre’s snow bulletin released Thursday. 

Continue reading ‘Here we are talking about drought in February’

Sunshine Coast Weathers Atmospheric Rivers

Editor’s note: Cortes Island tends to be a bit drier than the Sunshine Coast. Data from the Cortes Island School weather station shows that 62.4 mm fell between January 26 and February 1. That is 8.5 mm less than what the following article states fell in Sechelt.

According to the Snow Conditions Commentary, on the BC Government website, “Beginning on January 26th, a series of storms impacted the province, primarily impacting Vancouver Island and the South Coast. Many of the storms were classified as atmospheric rivers sourced from tropical regions. The result was very heavy rainfall through much of the coast with temperatures at or near record high temperatures during the period of January 26 to February 1st.”

The closure of Dakota Ridge, due to a unseasonably low snowpack, is troubling. This is not an isolated incident and may lead to low streamflow during the summer. Mount Cain is closed until further notice. A post on their website states, ‘We do not have enough snow to safely operate. We need a big dump to get back up and running, like 50cm at least.” The slopes at Mount Washington have been closed ‘for the last couple of days’ but are scheduled to reopen today.

By Jordan Copp, Coast Reporter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A series of atmospheric rivers had heavy rain and wind battering B.C.’s South Coast region this week. 

Continue reading Sunshine Coast Weathers Atmospheric Rivers

Dakota Ridge remains closed due to unseasonably warm weather

Editor’s note: Last Friday we reprinted an article discussing the lower snowfalls on Mount Washington and the Comox Glacier in recent years. On the other side of the Salish Sea, Whistler Blackcomb opened on November 23, 2023, but conditions are poor. Closer to Vancouver, Mt Seymour, Cypress Mountain and Grouse Mountain are all open but so far this year report poor conditions.

By Jordan Copp, Coast Reporter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

While the snow may be taking its time to reach the Sunshine Coast, forecasts suggest that this may be changing over the next week. In the meantime, the Coast’s winter playground, Dakota Ridge, remains closed.

Continue reading Dakota Ridge remains closed due to unseasonably warm weather