Despite precipitation levels at half of normal in March 2018, flowers are blooming around Chilliwack. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Driest March in 12 years in Chilliwack

Precip 49 per cent below normal and the sixth consecutive March with above normal average temps

Given the number of days of rain Chilliwack has seen so far in 2018 it might be hard to believe precipitation is down 20 per cent this year and March was the driest in 12 years.

The reality is it’s raining as often as normal, just not as much as normal.

With just 87.7 millimetres (mm) or rain recorded in March by Roger Pannett, Chilliwack’s volunteer weather observer for Environment Canada, that’s 49 per cent below the 30-year average of 162.5 mm for the month.

• RELATED: Chilliwack’s own ‘weather man’

But that 87.7 mm of rain fell over 14 days while the average number of days of precipitation at 16 days.

Just 1.8 centimetres (cm) of snow fell in March, down from an average of 13.6mm for the month.

As Pannett puts it, with weak high pressure ridges, March “came in like a lamb and went out like a lamb.” Freezing levels, however, throughout the month remained generally low with a few heavy snowfalls on the high mountain passes.

The average temperature last month was 11.04 C up slightly over the average of 10.3 C.

On March 12, high pressure coupled with a southerly air flow spiked temperatures to the maximum for the month at 18.8 C (9.8 C above normal.) Two days before that beneath clear skies on March 10, the low temperature was -1 C, according to Pannett.

It was the sixth consecutive March with above normal mean temperatures and below normal frost totals, a trend never previously observed in the past 123 years.

The 2018 precipitation total to date is 509.3 mm on 61 days compared to the average of 634.6 mm on 54 days.

• RELATED: Heavy snow closes Chilliwack schools


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