|The beautiful coast of
British Columbia is well known for its temperate climate - the finest and warmest
weather in Canada! The climate of British Columbia varies from marine to continental,
and is influenced by its location immediately east of the warm Pacific Ocean,
the north-south orientation of its towering mountain chains, the mountainous topography,
the prevailing westerly winds, and the province's northerly latitude.|
coastal region has abundant rainfall and a mild temperature associated with a
maritime climate, and enjoys Canada's longest frost-free periods. In the interior,
the climate is continental in nature. The southern interior has the province's
driest and warmest climate.
During the summer, a weakening in the west to east upper air flow in combination
with the development of a persistent high pressure area off the coast results
in fewer frontal systems moving through BC. As a result, summers tend to be dry
throughout most of BC. In winter, the province is affected occasionally by much
colder, drier air from the Arctic.
| || |Daily online weather information for British Columbia is
available on the Internet
from Environment Canada.
Victoria claims the mildest climate in Canada because the Pacific
ocean in this region maintains a constant temperature of 50 degrees F. Prevailing
westerly ocean winds provide a buffer to warmer summer and cooler winter temperatures.
Regional mountains also provide weather protection, and as a result, Victoria
has the lowest rainfall on the West Coast and consequently enjoys the most days
of sunshine. Victoria is the only city in Canada that has recorded winters when
the thermometer did not drop below freezing. Even in January the temperate climate
allows outdoor activities such as fishing, sailing and golfing in the coastal
The west coast of Vancouver Island is exposed to the moisture-laden
westerly winds blowing off the warmer Pacific Ocean. The warm air masses are forced
up by the island's mountain ranges resulting in considerable precipitation falling
on the Pacific Rim region during the winter months of September to March. Summers
are relatively dry.
The Gulf Islands
The location of the Gulf Islands,
frolicking in the rain shadow of the Vancouver Island mountains, ensures a moderate
climate with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Drier than Vancouver Island,
the Gulf Islands enjoy an 8-month frost-free season, the longest in Canada.
Vancouver, Coast, and Mountains
Vancouver's climate is one of the mildest
in Canada, and is generally an area of heavy winter precipitation. Apart from
being rather wet, winters are fairly mild but often tempered by days of brilliant
blue skies and warm clear evenings. The city of Vancouver receives only a few
snowfalls in the average winter, but the nearby mountains have snowy peaks from
November to May. Relatively cool summers are the rule. Temperatures range from
an average of 2 degrees C (36F) in the winter and 26 degrees C (90F) in the summer,
and most rainfall occurs between October and March.
The climate of the Okanagan Valley is best defined as mild and continental. Summers
are warm with hot days, cool nights, and fairly low humidity. Winters are moderate
and are occasionally cold, with cool humid air and cloudy skies. In mid summer,
approximately one third of the season's days are considered tropical in temperature
(temperatures greater than 30 °C or 85 °F). Spring and fall seasons are equally
pleasant. Kelowna has over 2,000 hours of sunshine annually, approximately 13
inches of rain a year and 41 inches of snow.
snowfall in the BC Rockies averages between 171 cm (67 inches) in the south and
206 cm (81 inches) in the north. The region has winter highs in the valleys averaging
5 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit). Mountain terrain at high elevation
may remain inaccessible until July. Spring flowers bloom in the valleys in April,
and you can expect warm days and cool nights through May and June. The Rockies
enjoy a wonderful summer in July, August and September, and visitors are often
surprised by the high temperatures that can occur in July and August. Climate
can vary from one valley to the next and indeed within very short distances. Local
conditions are affected by altitude, proximity to large lakes, wind flows through
valleys and the rain shadow effect on high mountains.
The Southern Rockies
region is in the east and southeast portion of the province and has marked contrasts
in climate. The valley bottom localities are semi-arid with warm summers and cold
winters, like those found in the Grand Forks or Cranbrook area. Upslope, and on
the windward slopes of the Monashees, Selkirks, Purcells and Rocky Mountains,
much higher precipitation and cooler temperatures are evident (Revelstoke area).
Cariboo, Chilcotin, Coast
In the Interior, the Coast Mountains provide
an effective barrier to the moist westerly air flow. To the east of this mountain
chain, on the Interior Plateau, there exists a much drier and more continental
climate. Summers tend to be warm and dry; winters cooler, but less moist. (Kamloops,
Okanagan, Williams Lake and Prince George area).
Coastal British Columbia:
Generally speaking, November and February are the two wettest months in coastal
British Columbia. May and September are the two most enjoyable months to explore
the coast; not only are there fewer travellers, but the weather also tends to
be at its best. Cold weather blankets much of the BC interior from October to
April, with northeastern BC frequently cool and overcast through July. The best
months to travel here are August and September after the first frosts have brought
an end to insect season.
Northern British Columbia
The climate of
the northern half of the province varies considerably, but generally has much
colder winters and cooler summers than the rest of the province.
short and quite cool, with temperatures ranging between 20 to 33 degrees Celsius,and
days become longer the further north you travel. Late spring and early fall usually
offer mild weather conditions, with average lows of around 15 degrees Celsius.
Winter coastal conditions often bring rain with the mild weather. The winters
are generally colder and drier the further north you travel. Most northern destinations
receive incredible snow from the middle of November until the middle of March,
providing exceptional opportunities for winter recreation. Lows vary depending
on location, but average minus 10 degrees Celsius.