British Columbia

August was one of the hottest months on record in B.C.: meteorologists

Abbotsford, Fort St. John, Victoria and Kelowna all set heat records in August, while cities like Vancouver and Prince George experienced warmer-than-average months, as well.

Seasonal temperatures expected to return in September, says Environment Canada meteorologist

A person paddles a kayak on a river.
Hot weather hit most parts of the province in August, including the Nechako River in B.C.'s north, pictured here. Prince George had a mean temperature of 17.1 C, making it the third hottest August for the city since the start of Environment Canada records in 1943. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

August 2022 was one of the hottest on record in Vancouver, and B.C. as a whole, according to meteorologists.

Environment Canada meteorologist Ken Dosanjh says it was about 18.3 C on average in Vancouver last month — and temperatures in August usually sit at about 17.2 C.

Vancouver's hottest month on record remains July 1958, when temperatures averaged about 20.6 C.

Other cities to break monthly heat records include Abbotsford, Victoria, Kelowna and Fort St. John. 

Abbotsford, 72 kilometres southeast of Vancouver, saw its hottest month ever, with a mean temperature of 21 C. But with the humidity index and sunshine, it felt much warmer.

Fort St. John, 440 kilometres northeast of Prince George, also saw its hottest month on record, with a mean temperature of 18.7 C. 

Victoria recorded a mean temperature of 18.6 C, the hottest August since records started being kept in 1941. The normal mean is 16.8 C.

Kelowna also saw its hottest August since records starting being kept there in 1949, with a mean of 23.6 C, nearly three degrees above its normal mean of 20.6 C.

False Creek, Vancouver B.C.
Blue skies and high temperatures graced Vancouver for the majority of August, making it the hottest month on record for the city. (Courtney Dickson/CBC)

CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe says Victoria was also dryer than normal and that Vancouver Island, as well as the Haida Gwaii basin, is currently experiencing a level 3 drought, where adverse socio-economic impacts or adverse impacts to the ecosystem are possible, and water restrictions are likely.

"This was one of the hottest Augusts ever on record in B.C.," Wagstaffe said.

This comes after B.C. broke provincial heat records in July, and national heat records during the summer of 2021, when hundreds died as a result of the heat that year. This year, an estimated 16 people died during a heat wave at the end of July that lasted into the first few days of August, according to the B.C. Coroners Service.

Extreme weather events, including hotter-than-average temperatures, are expected to happen more frequently due to climate change, Wagstaffe says. 

"Based on the latest UN climate change projections, B.C. will continue to see our temperatures increase in the decades to come," she said. "The province has already, on average, seen a two-degree rise since the turn of the century."

A man without a shirt rides a bike down an empty main road.
A man rides a bicycle in downtown Kelowna. The province broke provincial heat records in July, and an estimated 16 people died during a heat wave at the end of the month, that lasted into the first few days of August, according to the B.C. Coroners Service. (Winston Szeto/CBC)

Dosanjh says the heat this summer is largely due to warm, dry air that became stagnant. Each day became hotter because temperatures didn't cool off at night, he said.

However, Dosanjh is optimistic that temperatures will return to normal as we head into September. "We're definitely past the worst of it," he said.

He says the Labour Day weekend could remain hot, particularly in the Southern Interior, but a slightly cooler air mass from Alaska is on its way and should bring temperatures down to the low 20s in Vancouver next week. 

With files from Johanna Wagstaffe and Courtney Dickson


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