Raincouver? It's Mythbusting Time.

Time and time again I hear the perils about living in Vancouver. 

The rain. They complain about the rain. 

I've tried to be helpful in the past by posting hydrometeor alerts to warn the citizens and visitors of this beautiful city of the true danger that's posed by copious amounts of hydrometeors. 

Past 90 day precipitation accumulation (NWS)

  • Although YVR is just out of the available domain, you can see parts of the coast and higher terrain have received an astounding 109.3 inches or over 2.5 metres of precipitation, much less in the Olympic Mountain rain shadow. 
  • Domain average isd 29.14 inches (736 mm). 

But is this a true representation of our year round climate?

According to 1981-2010 climate normal data available in the public domain Vancouver receives on average just over 1100 mm of precipitation for the year.

Does that give us the most precipitation out of some major Canadian cities?


Cities such as Winnipeg, Calgary, and Toronto receive significantly less accumulated yearly precipitation than Vancouver, but Montreal, Halifax, and St. Johns all receive comparable or more precipitation than YVR (St. Johns receives over 1500 mm FYI). 

But, the more interesting stat is what takes place during the dry half of the year (May-September). 

Where do you think Vancouver falls? 

Believe it or not Vancouver receives a paltry 240 mm of rainfall from May until early October, on average. 

In comparison here's several Canadian cities and their total precipitation amounts for the 'dry' season, 

  1. St. Johns = 519mm

  2. Halifax = 497mm

  3. Toronto = 372 mm

  4. Winnipeg = 347 mm

  5. Montreal = 328 mm

  6. Calgary = 317 mm

  7. Vancouver = 239 mm

It's not even close. Vancouver clearly is one of the driest major cities across Canada from May until the end of September. 

To put the 239 mm of precipitation in perspective Pensacola airport in Florida received nearly 6 inches of rainfall (over 140 mm of rain) in a single hour (possibly up to a 1:500 year event)

Yeah, this is nearly incomprehensible, as Pensacola received approximately 60 percent of Vancouver's 5 month rainfall total (May-September) IN A SINGLE HOUR

Absolutely mind-blowing. 

So next time you hear your fellow tourist, friend, or family member grumble about the weather, kindly fill them in on reality.

Vancouver is not the rainiest city in Canada, and our summer climate (May-September) is most similar to a Mediterranean one