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Vancouver just had its third-driest spring on record

It was the driest spring in nearly 100 years
Vancouver is coming out of what has been a pretty dry spring season, according to weather data.

Raincouver didn't live up to its name this spring.

Over the 90 odd days from March 1 to May 31 only 103 mm of rain fell at Vancouver International Airport, where Environment Canada measures precipitation. The last time that happened the Great Depression was still several years off.

“Less than half the average monthly precipitation fell during each of the months,” says Bobby Sekhon, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

In 1921, 94 mm of precipitation fell on the city; a couple of years later that low record was beaten when in 1924 only 74 mm fell. In the 125 years that Vancouver weather has been recorded, those are the only two years with drier springs than 2021. Environment Canada considers spring to be the months of March, April and May. 

While none of the spring months were the driest ever, or in the top five, they were all fairly dry with under half of the normal amount of precipitation falling each month. Notably, March 2021 was the eighth-driest March in Vancouver on record.

The average spring in Vancouver, Sekhon says, sees more than double this year's 103 mm with 267 mm of H2O falling.

Nearby in Abbotsford they set a record; it was the driest spring on record (records started in 1945). However, they still saw 147 mm or precipitation; it's just that normally they get 368 mm.

However, if Vancouver didn't seem that much drier than 2020 that's because it wasn't. Spring 2020 was dry as well.

"Last year we had a dry spring with 120 mm of precipitation," Sekhon says.

This year, though, things were a little different as temperatures were very average. 2020 was not.

"It was a pretty exceptional hot and dry May," Sekhon says.

This year there were a few days of heat in mid-April, he notes, but not enough to really bump the average up.

"From the April 15 to 20 (YVR) saw temps above 17 C," he adds. "That's pretty good for near the water."

Warmer days are likely to be ahead, though, he notes as summer is expected to be warmer than average.