Violet the marmot may have just foretold six more weeks of winter, but the actual recent temperatures are threatening to prove that marmots lack groundhogs’ predictive powers.
Last week set multiple warmth records—more on that below.
Today’s approx. read time: 5 minutes
Record warmth—and early blossoms—make weird winter even milder
January 2024 was a month of extremes, with records set during both the cold stretch and the month-ending warm spell.
36-degree temperature swing
Victoria temperatures that went below -21C on Jan. 12 (with windchill) swung all the way up to +15C just over two weeks later (Jan. 29).
Month’s end set heat records
Last month set records for Victoria’s most 15-degree days (2) and most 13-degree days (4) ever recorded in January at Gonzales station, per YYJ Weather Records.
The warmest days were right at the month’s end, as Jan. 28-31 set daily high-temperature records at both the YYJ and Gonzales stations. Then, by getting up above 13, Thursday became the warmest start to Feb. since records started in 1899.
Warm end to winter expected
Experts had predicted a mild remainder of the South Island’s winter, consistent with El Niño, once the cold snap was over. The upcoming week projects to be around the seasonal norm, with 8C highs.
Balmy days bring blossoms early
Local pedestrians and photographers have been spreading the news that View Street has its blossoms blooming.
The pink cherry and plum blossoms, a famous sign of spring in Victoria, are early—but only by a couple of weeks. They typically start showing in late Feb. and into March, with a second wave in April-May.
The city’s interactive map shows where to find which blossoms at which times.
2 new schools under construction in race to keep up with Westshore growth
Rendering of Ruth King Elementary’s prefab addition. Photo: SD62
The Sooke School District (SD62) is one of BC’s fastest growing districts, especially for elementary schools. It’s grown 40% over the past 15 years, and SD62 predicts 300-500 new students every year in the near future. This has pushed SD62 to build more schools as fast as it can, to try to keep up and get ahead.
The latest of this new construction is at Langford’s Ruth King Elem. and Colwood’s David Cameron Elem., where $24M is funding 190 seats per school in 8 new classrooms each.
The race is on to actually get these spaces in place for the fall 2024 semester, and so the province is relying on custom pre-fabricated additions that are being made on the mainland.
4-car crash at Blanshard and Belleville caused rollover, but no hospitalizations. [CHEK]
SPONSORED BY VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL WINE FESTIVAL
Turn your wine tasting into a weekend trip to Vancouver
Visit Vancouver for a food and wine adventure this winter. Discover Italy and more at the Vancouver International Wine Festival, February 24-March 3. Take in spectacular winery dinners, engaging seminars, wine parties, and the signature International Festival Tastings, then enjoy world-class dining in downtown Vancouver.
This year's theme country is Italy, with 71 wineries travelling to Vancouver from Europe’s magical boot. In all, 147 wineries from 12 countries and their vine stars will gather for a week-long celebration of food and wine, an unparalleled opportunity to taste new and exciting wines in a fun atmosphere.
Book a hotel through Stay Vancouver Hotels by February 15 and receive a free International Festival Tasting ticket ($115-$135 value) to the session of your choice.
🔎 A whole world on a tree branch: A Comox Valley photographer took these close-up, colouful photos on all the life (moss, lichen, fungi, and more) on fallen twigs.
🐻 Bear deterrence tips from Saanich, following sightings in rural areas.
Victoria car sells for record price at Arizona auction
A 1956 Mercedes 300SL gullwing fetched $3.41, which was the highest price of any of the auction’s 2,000 cars. It was the project of Victoria businesses that collaborate to find and restore classic cars. [CTV]
Saanich PD honours officers and BMO staff from 2022 shootout
Chief Dean Duthie recognized 26 units and 86 officers who responded on that June day 19 months ago. Six officers suffered life-altering wounds in a gunfight outside a Shelbourne BMO branch being robbed by two brothers, who were shot dead. An investigation concluded the brothers were more interested in killing officers than stealing money. [Victoria Buzz]
Tofino makes National Geographic's 20 coolest travel adventures
The magazine featured the Tofino Wilderness Resort, citing the nearby whale-watching and artist sanctuary and the chance to learn from its owners the Ahousaht First Nation. Tofino’s Chesterman Beach was also recently named #6 in the world by Lonely Planet.
SPONSORED BY UVIC CONTINUING STUDIES
Dive into new directions
🎺 CanUS Traditional Jazz Matinee: The jazz band will perform at Hermann’s Jazz Club. Today. Doors 12, show 1pm.
🎥 I Used to be Funny: As a part of the Victoria Film Festival, the comedy drama featuring Rachel Sennott will be shown at The Vic Theatre. Today. 12pm.
💃 Tamar Ilana & Ventanas: The world music ensemble will perform at Victoria Event Centre. Today. Dors 7pm, show 7:30pm.
🎬 The Old Oak: The British drama about human connection in a northern village will be shown at The Vic Theatre during the Victoria Film Festival. Today. 2:45pm.
📽️ Seven Samurai at Cinecenta: The classic Japanese epic film will be shown at the UVic theatre. Today. 2:45pm and 6:30pm.
🎫 With Love And a Major Organ: During the Victoria Film Festival, the Canadian fantasy drama will be shown at The Vic Theatre. Today. 7:45pm.
Victoria extending Shelbourne bike lanes to connect with Saanich, replacing street parking. Also in Sat. newsletter: BC’s report on safer supply. Ferry route changes. Another oil leak.
Friday’s headlines: Marmot numbers up. Students walk out;.Teddy Bear patrol. [Feb. 2]
Pink in the Rink: Victoria faced Seattle in Royals’ annual cancer-fighting fundraiser night. [Highlights]
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