Is This Weather Normal? – Introduction

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Have you ever wondered if the weather yesterday, last week, or this past month was “normal”? Starting in the coming days, “Is This Weather Normal?” will become a regular blog topic at This series of posts will focus on the weather of Terrace – a town of some 12,000 in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia.

I teach an introductory weather and climate course at Coast Mountain College, and in addition to doing weekly weather forecasts with my class, we’ve also begun looking at our weather in a longer term context. The motivation for bringing these short overviews on the “normality” (or abnormality as the case may be) of our weather, is to provide some quantitative context, some verifiable reference points for what we experience on a daily basis.

Our perception of weather is colored by personal preferences of what constitutes “nice”. And often it has become that “nice” is completely abnormal, and sometimes even threatening to the ecological norms of a region (see here for example). “Sure glad this is all falling as rain. You don’t have to shovel rain!” is a common mid-winter saying during an abnormally warm winter spell. “This fall weather has been incredible! The salmon probably aren’t doing too well though, eh?” was a common refrain in the summer/fall of 2018 here in northwest BC. Our qualified opinions of the weather has us far removed from what “normal” actually is.

My hope is that these posts will help provide some rational footing with respect to our daily experience of the vagaries of our atmosphere – at least in western British Columbia. Watch for the first such post – an overview of 2018 weather – in the coming days, followed by an update each month for 2019.




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Al Lehmann

May 13, 2019

Thanks for doing this, Matt. We tend to be an oblivious culture focused on events far from home and often of dubious significance. Meanwhile, the world is transforming itself on our doorstep, without our notice.