British Columbia

Parched March sets low-rainfall records in parts of B.C.

In Vancouver, for example, where cherry blossoms have been blooming under cloudless blue skies, the weather agency said it logged only 31 millimetres of rain for the entire month — little more than a quarter of the usual 113 millimetres.

Preliminary numbers show Vancouver, Abbotsford saw quarter of usual rain amount

A man plays volleyball at Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver on March 29. Meteorologists with Environment Canada say this March was likely one of the driest on record in B.C. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

March was one of the driest months on record for several locations across B.C., according to preliminary numbers from Environment Canada.

In Vancouver, for example, where cherry blossoms have been blooming under cloudless blue skies, the weather agency said it logged only 31 millimetres of rain for the entire month — little more than a quarter of the usual 113 millimetres.

"That's pretty dry," said Environment Canada meterologist Ross MacDonald. 

Further inland, Abbotsford only saw about 42 millimetres of rain compared to its average of 149 millimetres — again, barely a quarter of the average amount.

A child swings in the sun at Burnaby Mountain Park on March 29. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

MacDonald said record-keeping dates back to 1937 in Vancouver and 1945 in Abbotsford, so those all-time records broken would be 82 and 74 years old, respectively.

Tennis courts were busy in Vancouver on March 29. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The meteorologist also noted that March saw a wide range of temperatures during the month, from cold and snowy February leftovers to warm and sunny hints of summer later on — but the weather was dry, regardless.

Arid spring weather doesn't bode well for wildfire season in the province, though the B.C. Wildfire Service has said June rains are usually the best indication of how active and early the season may be.

"It certainly is going to be something to keep an eye on," MacDonald said of the wildfire risk. "Hopefully we'll see a return to more normal precipitation amounts setting up the summer season."

With files from Yvette Brend

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