Did it feel like a record-breaking winter? Not so, says Environment Canada

WATCH: This past winter seemed relentless, with never-ending cold and snow, but our perception may not be reality. April Lawrence reports.






The signs of spring are everywhere, but as kids chase bubbles in Beacon Hill Park it’s easy to forget just a few weeks ago they were chasing snowflakes.

Ask many people to sum up this past winter, and the word ‘snow’ is mentioned time and time again.

But despite all appearances, it turns out this winter doesn’t even compete in the snowy record books.

With 53.1 centimetres, it was only the 22nd snowiest winter on record for the Victoria area — well behind the infamous Blizzard of ’96, and the all-time record set in 1968-69 of 148.4 cm.

But don’t tell that to Saanich Police, who responded to 20 crashes in a matter of hours one day in January.

“It certainly did feel like a very snowy winter here in Saanich I can tell you our traffic safety unit and our patrol division were extremely busy,” said Const. Damian Kowalewich.

That may be because, while not the snowiest, it was one of the coldest, and iciest, winters on record.

Victoria averaged 2.7 degrees Celsius from December to March, well below the typical average of 4.6 degrees, and the 9th coldest on record.

And that long-lasting grip of cold may be why it felt like we were getting so much snow

“With the cold air that was in place when it snowed it tended to stick around and we had multiple episodes of snow as well,” said Environment Canada Meteorologist Alyssa Charbonneau.

It also didn’t help that we were hit with real winter after several years of unusually warm weather.

Compared to the 53 centimetres this year, last year we got only 3 cm.

On other parts of Vancouver Island, it was dryer than usual.

Nanaimo received only 75 per cent of its typical winter precipitation, and Comox saw only 66 per cent of its average.

It was cold though, with the entire Island averaging about two degrees below normal.

This was the 7th coldest winter on record for Nanaimo.

Environment Canada says it’s doubtful we’ll see another snowfall, but, they weren’t prepared to promise.