Record-breaking heat seared the Alberni Valley last weekend, with highs reaching 32.2 degrees on Sunday, June 7.
According to Environment Canada statistics, that’s the hottest it’s ever been on that date.
But it’s not just that early date that’s worrying. There have only been eight Junes where temperatures reached above 30 degrees since the weather station at the Alberni Valley Regional Airport started recording in 1992.
The heating trend stretches to earlier in the year than that—May 2015 was the hottest May on record since records at the airport weather station began.
With an average temperature of 23 degrees Celsius, it’s almost two degrees hotter than the previous highest average in 1995.
The hot weather has streams in the Alberni Valley ranging anywhere from 21 to 23 degrees Celsius—temperatures that are poor conditions for fish, Alberni Valley Enhancement Society’s Jake Leyenaar said.
Then there’s the lack of snowpack.
According to the B.C. River Forecast Centre, Vancouver Island had just three per cent of its normal snowpack on June 1. That’s a drop of 32 per cent from 2014 and 65 per cent from 2013.
That’s led to Vancouver Island—along with Haida Gwaii—having the highest drought levels in the province.
While the River Forecast Centre doesn’t monitor any rivers in the Alberni Valley, every single monitored river on Vancouver Island is below 50 per cent of median flow. The two in closest proximity, Tofino Creek near the West Coast and the Browns River near Courtenay, are at less than 20 per cent flow.