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Island records fall in ultra dry spell

Sep 30 2012

Vancouver Island's tinder-dry conditions continue as communities see record-low rainfall levels.

The period from August to September was the driest on record for both Victoria and Nanaimo.

Victoria had just 3.8 millimetres of rain in the past two months, less than the previous record of 5.0 mm in 1974. In that same period, Nanaimo saw 7.0 mm, compared with 9.1 mm in 1998.

September alone was record-setting in Nanaimo, with just 0.4 mm of rain.

The previous low was in 1975, when just 0.5 mm fell.

Victoria saw 2.2 mm of rain in September - well below the average of 30.4 mm - making it the third driest September on record.

"Those are unusually dry conditions," said John McIntyre, meteorologist at Environment Canada.

"That's pretty rare."

The dry weather has not been of help to Island firefighters, who have fought four forest fires in the past week, including one that started Saturday about 20 kilometres north of Port Renfrew.

By the evening, it measured about four hectares.

Dry conditions are common around many parts of B.C. this year, McIntyre said. Fort St. John, which receives an average of 45.7 mm of rain in September, saw just one millimetre this month, making it the driest on record.

dspalding@timescolonist.com

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