Vancouver Island Seasonal Weather
This is a totally unscientific synopsis of seasonal weather on the Island,
and the rubber I use to stay comfortable in it.
and the rubber that lets us play in it
We get lots of rain in the winter here. I bet you've heard that before.
As a rule of thumb, if its cloudy its warm, up to 15 C. If its sunny,
it's going to freeze, at least at night.
The Pacific ocean has a great moderating effect on our Island weather.
The coldest temps usually come in January. If the weather is blowing
up from the south we can expect above freezing temps in the 5 C to 8 C
range in the day, and down around freezing at night. We occasionally get
arctic outflows, which are air masses that flow down the mainland
mountains and funnel out over the lower mainland and over to the Island.
As these air masses cross the Straight of Georgia they pick up moisture
and dump snow on the Island. This last winter we had a prime example of
this most distasteful phenomenon as record snowfall paralysed the Island
for several days.
Ocean temps range from about 8 C to 11 C.
I tend to surf on the warmer days. An O'neill 4/3 XTS is what I use,
and in the winter I am very happy to have a hooded, sleeveless vest to
to go under it. Keeps me toasty when others shiver. Having the hood
attached to a vest precludes those nasty cold flushes down the back.
For the winter of 97 - 98 I purchased a hooded Rip
Curl 5/4/3. This
suit is much warmer than the O'neill, especially when getting worked
and punching out. Far less flushing.
There are great winter days when the sun comes out and the air temp
goes up to 14 or 15 C, the wind drops, the swell holds,
and the Great Architect smiles down upon us.
Jan 30 1998 17 C in Tofino today
Spring arrives early on the Island by Canadian standards. It is mid
February as I write this and the flowers are emerging. We can still
get a little frost in the mornings, if the weather is clear, right
through March. Day time temps in the spring range from 10 to 15 C,
but we are prone to short cold snaps.
Ocean temps range from about 8 C to 12 C.
I will still wear my hooded vest, boots and gloves right through to April.
The hood will start to come down on days in March, the gloves come off in
March or April, and by May the vest and boots are shed.
Summer temps range between 15 and 25 C. When the Jetstream locks in
overhead, the sky can stay clear for a month straight. The garden always
suffers from drought. It can get pretty warm, but there always seems to
be a soft breeze to keep you comfortable. Blistering heat, like landlocked
areas experience, is rare but possible. This perfect beach weather usually
means flat ocean. Weeks of nothing but ankle snappers.
Ocean temps range from about 12 C to 16C.
My O'neill 3/2 can get a little warm this time of year. I pull the neck
seal open and regularly have a cool flush. There are lots of swimmers and
the occasional surfer without a suit this time of year. In mid August we
were sweltering in our suits. Two guys in the lineup were down to their
underwear, and one guy, well I guess he forgot his underwear. There were
several weeks when you didn't need rubber. Usually if you want to
stay in the ocean for any length of time a suit is necessary. Unprotected, the body
loses heat faster than it can generate heat in water about 24 C. In protected
coves and shallow beaches the surface ocean temps can hit 20+ C, but the
surfing areas have to much mixing to reach such temps unless the water goes
dead flat for a few very hot days in a row.
My favourite time of year. We often get long stretches of clear warm days,
with a little frost in the morning. The fall mists move in and the
air seems crisp and clean after the summer heat. Temps run from 10 to 20 C.
I first found this Island in the late summer of 72. The sun beat down and
the rains did not start until November the 10th that first amassing autumn.
The storms out in the Pacific will start kicking up and sending the first
ground swells of the season to the West Coast. Bless them.
It's been a long flat summer.
Ocean temps range from about 16 C to 9 C.
The ocean will stay warm into late November and as long as the air temp stays
warm I will not need vest boots or gloves. El Nino made 1997 a very warm autumn
in the ocean.
See you out there