NEWS

Hot, dry weather setting records on B.C.'s South Coast

09/19/2012 11:21 EDT | Updated 11/19/2012 05:12 EST
A long spell of hot, dry weather in B.C. that began in August is setting records in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island — and it's not over yet, say the experts.

Vancouver is poised to break a dry-spell record that's held for 119 years, according to senior Environment Canada climatologist David Jones, and the hot, dry conditions are expected to continue for several more days.

"Wall-to-wall sunshine with temperatures that are five or six degrees warmer than normal,” Jones said. "No thought of frost. Its like a weather-free zone."

Over on Vancouver Island less than two millimetres of rain has fallen in Victoria since Aug. 1, breaking a 72-year-old record, and Port Alberni has broken temperature records two days in a row this week.

Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce spokesperson Mike Carter says the long hot summer started late, but it's paying off for tourism operators now.

"It is really helping. Every weekend, we've been sold out in the campgrounds and hotels, motels. But it was so bad a spring, we thought it would never end."

But more typical September weather might not be far off, according to CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe.

"This ridge, which has been bringing us such beautiful weather is holding strong right through the weekend. It looks like it might break down Monday, Tuesday, so it’s our first chance of seeing any kind of wet weather.” Wagstaffe said.

Wildfire danger remains

The extended dry spell has prompted the B.C. Wildfire Service to extend a ban on outdoor burning and fireworks until Oct. 15.

Officials are concerned that B.C. residents might have forgotten the danger now that summer has almost passed, said spokeswoman Marg Drysdale.

"Look outside and see how dry the grass is. It's brittle, but more than that, on the coast, that extends into our large trees," she said.

“People don't really realize. They think that wildfire season is over. The kids have gone back to school."

"But we want people to remember if you are going to light anything, you have to attend it, you have to maintain it, you have to watch it and you have to have the means to put it out."

The ban includes the Prince George, Kamloops, the Southeast and Cariboo fire regions.

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