Does it snow in Victoria, BC? Located on the southern side of Vancouver Island, most people love Victoria for its beautiful scenery and mild climate.
However, many people wonder, “Does Victoria get snow?” And if it does, when should they plan their trip to enjoy those winter-specific activities?
So, how often does it snow in Victoria, BC?
Let’s find out now!
Yes, it can snow in Victoria, BC, but it is extremely rare and usually stays below 1.1 inches.
More about Climate in Victoria BC
Victoria, British Columbia, is known for having a climate unlike any other Canadian city.
Located on Vancouver Island, it takes advantage of the island’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean, which provides a mild and pleasant temperature all year.
Here is a bit about the average temperatures in Victoria:
Mild Summers and Winters in Victoria
Victoria’s summers are just as lovely.
From roughly the middle of June to the middle of September, temperatures regularly top out above 62 °F (17 °C) on a daily basis.
On the other hand, the unusual warmth of Victoria’s winters is one of the city’s defining climate characteristics.
Because of its proximity to the Olympic and Vancouver Island Mountains and the moderating effects of the Pacific Ocean, the winters here are mild rather than freezing.
Average High and Low Temperatures in Victoria BC
In Victoria, temperatures rarely drop below freezing in January, averaging a mild 8 degrees Celsius (46 degrees Fahrenheit) throughout the day.
Here is a bit about the high and low temperatures in Victoria throughout the year:
Victoria, with its mild temperatures all year, is a refuge from the bitter winter of the prairies and the oppressive heat of Ontario.
Gentle rains and flowers blooming in the winter are a treat for locals and tourists alike.
Fact: The hottest months are July and August, with average high temperatures of 22 degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit), which is rather comfortable.
Does It Snow in Victoria BC?
Victoria, British Columbia, has a warm temperature year-round, yet it does become cold enough to snow occasionally.
According to the numbers, a single snowy month lasts from December 14 to January 16.
December typically receives the greatest snowfall during this brief snowy period, with an average of 1.1 inches (2.8 cm) falling.
Compared to the snowfall received in other parts of Canada during the winter, this scant amount looks insignificant.
Months Without Snow
From January 16th until December 14th, there is typically no snow.
The 21st of July sees the least amount of snowfall on average, with a total accumulation of 0.0 inches, highlighting the extreme rarity of snow in Victoria outside of the short winter months.
|Snowfall||1.0 inches||0.3 inches||0.2 inches||0.0 inches||0.0 inches||0.0 inches||0.0 inches||0.0 inches||0.0 inches||0.0 inches||0.2 inches||1.1 inches|
Fact: Data shows Victoria's annual snowfall has steadily decreased over the past three decades.
How Often Does It Snow in Victoria, BC?
As mentioned already, snow in Victoria is quite unusual.
Here is a bit about the annual and monthly sums for snowfall, as well as the number of days in which snowfall measures at least 0.2 centimeters (0.08 inches).
The typical amount of snowfall and number of snowy days in Victoria.
Typically, Victoria’s first winter snowfall occurs in December; however, it can occur as early as Nov or even Oct.
Usually, the last snowfall of the season occurs in February, but occasionally, snow falls in March or April.
Fact: In Victoria, BC, the months of May through September are usually free of any snow.
The Occurrence of Snowstorms in Victoria BC
In Victoria, the average amount of snowfall each day is less than five centimeters (2 inches).
On average, at least five centimeters of fresh snow falls two days yearly.
However, a major snowstorm exceeding 10 centimeters in a day occurs once a year. Blizzards that produce 25 centimeters or more daily occur roughly once every ten years, typically in December.
Fact: There is a clear decline in snowfall in Victoria, and a 40% reduction is projected by 2050, mainly due to global warming.
Factors Influencing Snowfall in Victoria, BC
Victoria, British Columbia receives low yearly snowfall totals due to a confluence of geographical, meteorological, and climatic factors.
Position on the Coast
Victoria’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean has a significant impact on the city’s climate.
Due to its proximity to the shore, the area experiences milder-than-average winters since the prevailing marine air masses keep temperatures above freezing.
Masses of Air Coming Together
Snowfall is dependent on the movement of different types of air.
It rains when cold arctic air masses from the interior collide with the warmer, moister air above the ocean.
As long as the air is cold enough, this moisture will fall as snow rather than rain. But that does not happen in Victoria.
The Effects of Height
In terms of where snow falls, elevation is a major factor in the Victoria area.
Typically, snowfall amounts are greater at higher altitudes. And that is mainly because the average temperature decreases by 1°C for every 100 meters in altitude.
This means that the neighboring mountain ranges and other regions at higher elevations are more likely to experience significant snowfall.
Fact: The intensity and course of low-pressure systems that transport Pacific Ocean moisture onshore can also affect the quantity of snowfall.
The Role of Topography
Features of the local geography, such as the Olympic Mountains and the Vancouver Island Ranges, can contribute to increased precipitation.
Forced to rise above these elevations, wet air cools and condenses, increasing the likelihood of precipitation and maybe snowfall.
Climate Change Impact on Snowfall in Victoria, BC
Warmer winters in Victoria, British Columbia, are a direct result of climate change, and they are dramatically altering the region’s snowfall patterns and having far-reaching ecological repercussions.
Reduced snowfall and warmer winters
The progressive warming of Victoria’s winters is one of the most noticeable effects of climate change.
According to climate records, Victoria’s average winter temperatures have risen by about 1 degree Celsius since 1976–2005.
According to projections, these temperatures could rise by another 3°C by 2050 under a high emissions scenario.
This warming trend is dramatically altering the distribution of precipitation throughout the winter months, shifting the balance toward rain and away from snow.
Altering Rainfall Patterns
Climate change is expected to increase overall precipitation in Victoria during winters.
However, the warming trend will likely cause a bigger part of this precipitation to fall as rain rather than snow.
This trend has the potential to enhance winter flooding and make efficient water resource management more difficult.
What is the Best Time to Visit Victoria BC?
You should visit Victoria from May to September to enjoy the pleasant weather and many outdoor activities.
July and August are the warmest and driest of the year, making them the best months to visit the city and its many outdoor attractions.
Gardens bursting with color in the spring and brilliant autumn leaves are two of the season’s most striking sights.
Late September and October are other great options if you would rather avoid the crowds and can deal with the occasional rain.
An Important Consideration
The winter months (November–April) are the coldest and wettest, but they can be enjoyable if you enjoy storm-watching or staying inside.
Does it snow in Victoria, BC? Victoria’s pleasant climate is well-known across Canada, and for good reason: it attracts many people looking to escape the country’s often chilly winters.
But, it is extremely rare to see snowfall in Victoria, and that is because of its topography and geographic location.
Nevertheless, there is so much to see and enjoy no matter when you decide to visit Victoria, British Columbia.