People enjoy 24-degree weather by the Vedder River on March 19, the last day of winter. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)

Chilliwack saw drier than normal March, in an overly dry year

Only five days of precipitation compared to the average of 18 days

Chilliwack had an unusually dry March, even with the bit of snow that fell around the area.

With total precipitation 79 per cent below normal, it was the driest March in 27 years and the fourth driest on record.

Roger Pannett, the city’s volunteer weather observer for Environment Canada, noted only five days of precipitation, where we would get on average 18 days within March.

That also meant very low total precipitation. Where the 30-year average is normally 176.1 mm, only 37.3mm fell in March.

And while some areas of Vancouver saw 25 cm of snow on March 6 and 7, Chilliwack only got a skiff by comparison, at 3.2 cm. We saw a bit of snow again in the form of wet flurries on March 11 and 12, but it was short lived and followed almost immediately by a three-day heat wave. The final killing frost of the season was recorded on March 10, at -2.6°C.

Pannett said the three day, “hat trick,” saw records smashed with July like temperatures from March 18 to 20.

RELATED STORY: March heat wave arrives with spring in Chilliwack

“Of particular note, March 20 was the warmest March day in over 138 years,” Pannett added, “exceeding the previous all-time max record of 24.5°C on March 28, 1994 and the all-time mean record of 16.1°C on March 9, 1915.”

He continued: “After wintry conditions transformed into summer like weather, mean temperatures for the month rose to be 2.14°C above normal.( Standard deviation is + or – 1.4°C.) It was the 7th consecutive March with above normal mean temperatures, a trend never previously observed in the past 123 years.”

Pannett, a long-time weather observer, is predicting “a high probability of a dry, warm/hot spring and summer.”

And for those wondering how dry the surrounding forests are right now, he’s offered up the following statistics. Chilliwack’s 2019 precipitation total to date is 311.6 mm on 29 days, compared to the average of 634.6 mm on 54 days.


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