February's 'snowiest city in Canada' will surprise you

Caroline FloydMeteorologist

It's been a snowy February for many Canadians, but who's had to shovel the most? The answer will surprise you.

February may be the shortest month, but it's felt plenty long for many Canadians gripped by the coldest air of the winter and repeated blasts of heavy snow and ice.

With the month half over, one major city has emerged as the snow champion -- and it's probably not the first one you'd expect.

Strange but true; usually-sunny Victoria is leading the pack for February snow.

While parts of Labrador and the Rockies have seen higher amounts overall, when it comes to larger centres across the country, southern Vancouver Island has seen the snowiest start to the month. In fact, Victoria has already snowed its way to the snowiest February on record for the city, with half the month left to go.

feb snow

Oddly enough, part of the reason the B.C.'s South Coast and Vancouver Island have seen more snow than usual is the same reason the Prairies have seen less -- intense Arcitc high pressure. The ridge of high pressure has spurred both the extreme cold over the Prairies that fed Arctic outflow for southern B.C.'s coast, while at the same time shielding the Prairies from systems moving in from the Pacific and keeping the winter unusually dry.

While some of the numbers out east may look a little on the low side, most of the Maritimes is right on track. Halifax sees an average of about 45 cm in February, and half way through the month they've racked up about half of their expected total. St. John's typically sees a hefty 71 cm in February, so they're running a bit behind at 21 cm.

Content continues below

Not all of eastern Canada has escaped the unusually-heavy snow, however. Both Ottawa and Montreal are well above their average expected snowfall for the mid-point in February. In fact, both cities have already exceeded their usual snowfall for the entire month -- 34.7 cm in Ottawa, and 43.3 cm in Montreal.

Whether you want to celebrate the snowy crown or not in Victoria, it won't be yours to hold onto for long. Snow moving into Ontario's Nickel Belt on Friday will add fresh centimetres to Sudbury's total, pushing it into the lead.