Thursday 17 July 2014

Summer Days on the Coast

The west coast of Canada has a reputation when it comes to our climate - mild but wet is the main impression people have. There is a lot of truth in that, for a good part of the year temperatures are mild and it does rain a fair bit. This is a temperate rain forest, after all.

But late spring and into summer, when all is the way it should be, the coast becomes a place of wonder. Long, warm days (average of 20C/68F but can get up to 30C/86F) and dry skies for weeks on end can be the norm. The lakes and beaches become magnets for people looking to soak up some Vitamin D and splash in the water.

One of the nice things about the coast is that, aside from mosquitos in the evenings, there are no where near the bugs that people inland experience in the summer. So one can enjoy the outdoors without constantly flapping at no-see-ums and flies.


The warm dry spells do bring their own issues. Water becomes a concern, as most of communities rely on local lakes and rivers that fill up in the wet winters for their domestic water source. Even those who aren't hooked up to municipal water services start to conserve water, as they watch well levels drop or cisterns run dry, requiring purchases of water. It is generally standard procedure in the summers, at least on the island, that most communities are on water use restrictions. These often are implemented in late May, and address lawn watering, etc. If there is an extended dry spell then further restrictions may be put in place to protect the water resources for fire fighting and municipal use.

Fire bans are another common response to the warm, dry weather. Being surrounded by forest as we are on the coast, dry ground is a concern. Generally a stretch of hot weather will mean the wildfire centre will issue bans on campfires and backyard burning. This can happen at any time in the summer, some years it's not until August but this year a ban was issued today. The only sections where a ban doesn't get enforced is along what is known as the "fog line" along the west and north coasts of Vancouver Island and through Haida Gwaii, which are generally damp with ocean fog even in the summers.

The coast is fortunate to have four distinct seasons, each with its own magic and rhythm. Summer can be spectacular - you really don't want to miss it.
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

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