(Photo by Jay Wallace Images)

November is usually the rainiest month of the year for Greater Victoria – but this year was different.

Environment Canada precipitation records gauged at the Victoria International Airport show that the city received 53.1 mm of rainfall last month, as opposed to the average 152.6 mm in November.

The last time Victoria saw lower precipitation amounts during the month of November was in 1993, when it received 52.1 mm of rainfall.

Over the past 40 years, the lowest amount of precipitation in Victoria in November was recorded in 1979 when the city received just 33.6 mm.

According to Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan, the lack of rainfall last month can attributed to a dominant high pressure ridge that deflected precipitation up and around the top side of the ridge.

As a result, Greater Victoria saw a relatively dry first and last week of November – an occurrence that is described as extremely rare.

“The only exception of course was at the middle of the month, but we did get a pretty solid rain event. It just wasn’t very marking in a lot of ways down on the south coast, unlike Tofino which was much more heavily affected,” says Castellan.

Drought concerns

As the south coast of BC bypasses its usual wettest month of the year without much rainfall, Castellan warns of a precipitation deficit that could lead to a harsher summer.

“Wildfire season, drought season, possible air quality of the summer – that starts now as we have soils that are not necessarily as wet as they normally are,” he says.

“Drought is generally a multi-season event; not one that only happens in the summertime, although that’s when the largest implications are felt.”

Meanwhile Weather Network meteorologist, Tyler Hamilton, says it is still too soon to start talking about droughts and summertime precipitation.

“As we trend through December, we see a more seasonal pattern in terms of amount of rainfall. There is more of a typical December pattern that we will start to get on Wednesday to Saturday – it’s not all day rain but it’s starting to turn the tide,” Hamilton tells Victoria Buzz.

Victoria experienced the driest November in 26 years: Environment Canada
(The Weather Network/Tyler Hamilton)

However Castellan contends that studying conditions in November still provides a link to what the summer might look like, even if doesn’t tell the whole story.

“We just have to wait and see how things develop.”