Tuesday, October 1st 2019, 3:00 pm - Sometimes statistics aren't what they seem.
Fall is here, and that means the rainy season is upon us in British Columbia.
Vancouver has become so well known for its fall rain that tourists and locals have dubbed it "Raincouver." But you might be surprised to find out there's a city east of Vancouver that actually gets more rainfall on average; 300 mm more to be exact. Abbotsford, B.C. averages 1483 mm of rain each year, while Vancouver International Airport reports an average of 1153 mm.
Visit our Complete Guide to Fall 2019 for an in-depth look at the Fall Forecast, tips to plan for it and a sneak peek at the winter ahead
So why is this the case? Well, as Tyler Hamilton explains, it has a lot to do with Vancouver Island and the Olympic Mountains. While Vancouver sits partially in a rain shadow, the mountains' influence doesn't extend as far as Abbotsford.
FROM THE MET DESK: WHY STATS ARE SOMETIMES NOT WHAT THEY SEEM
The other side of the story also comes down to location, but that has more to do with where we take official observations than geography. Official records for Vancouver are recorded at the airport, south of downtown and much farther into the rain shadowed area.
If we take a closer look at Downtown Vancouver, it's closer and more similar to West Vancouver -- which receives on average 1830 mm of rainfall annually.
In fact, as Tyler explains, if you look 10 km outside of downtown Vancouver, some areas like Lynn Creek receive double the amounts of rainfall that YVR gets each year. The mountains are partially to blame for this once again, since upsloping winds help 'wring' extra moisture from the air.
Because of the mountains, you can have tremendous variability of rainfall in just a small radius across the Lower Mainland. Meaning that it can be pouring in West Vancouver and just down the road at the airport, it might be a light drizzle.
Now there is no arguing that the rainiest city, regardless of size, is also located in B.C. That title goes to Prince Rupert, which sees a staggering average of 2593.6 mm of rain each year.