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Rupert fails to live up to rainiest city rep this summer

There has been about half as much rain so far this summer as normal
The 18th green at the Prince Rupert Golf Course on a sunny afternoon in July. Prince Rupert has enjoyed about twice as much sunshine in 2023 so far as in a normal summer.

You are not imagining it, Prince Rupert, this summer has been a gem.

“Everyone around the world is in some kind of climate or weather misery, and boy, the place to be is northwest British Columbia,” said Environment Canada senior meteorologist David Phillips. “I mean, it’s about as good as it gets.”

Last week, Phillips crunched the numbers for Prince Rupert for the period of May 1 to July 19. He said while, hands down, Rupert deserves its reputation as the wettest city in Canada, it’s just not living up to that reputation this summer.

“If you look at that period, the precipitation is down, which it is across most of British Columbia,” Phillips said. “So, where others are calling it a drought, it’s more like a real pleasant kind of situation for you.”

In terms of the numbers, precipitation has been just about half what Rupert normally gets at 169 mm compared to an average of 315. There have been only 26 days with rain in those 80 days whereas there would normally have been 46.

That’s not something to be worried about, however. Phillips noted that from January to April precipitation was up by about five per cent or 880 mm compared to 934 in a normal year. And it’s not like the city is getting no rain at all like some other places.

“So, you could say it’s dry right now, and… it’s beginning to show it, but going into the gorgeous season of May, June and July you were well watered so you weren’t going through any suffering at that time.

Furthermore, there is moisture on the horizon, he said, noting Environment Canada modelling predicts a slightly warmer but more or less normal August.

In the meantime, Rupertites can just revel in having one of the nicest summers on record in 2023. And that’s not just in terms of rain.

From May 1 to July 19, there were 12 days on which the high reached above 20 degrees. In a normal year, up to July 31, there would only be three of those days.

But even the warm days have not been unpleasantly so. The highest temperature reached was 24.3 on May 15.

The big question is, could Prince Rupert be in for more of this kind of summer?

Phillips said clearly climate change is having an effect and where it is a negative one for some areas

“I always say there are winners and losers with the weather and, you know, Prince Rupert may be a winner here.”

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Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
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