Olympic Rain Shadow

Victorians enjoying some sunshine afforded by the Olympic Rain Shadow at Mile Zero Beach.

Welcome to the Dictionary of Island Terms. Its purpose is to pin down the patois of Vancouver Island by recording its toponyms, nicknames, phenomena, slang, personalities and places. Explore the ever-growing A-Z here.

Olympic Rain Shadow | meteorology, phenomenon | The comparatively dry and sunny strip of southeast Vancouver Island created by the weather-blocking Olympic Mountains in northwest Washington State. It is the reason why Victoria sees an average of just 58.3 cm of rain per year and Vancouver is soaked with 146 cm. Note: poor Tofino endures 327 cm!

Usage: “One of the big misconceptions about Southwestern BC is that it’s always wet. It really depends are where you are in relation to the Olympic Rain Shadow.”

There is 1 comment

  1. The clear skies usually happen during colder seasons, when it’s 6° and the same effect is also experienced in Gulf Islands, White Rock, Delta.

    Vic is much colder than Van area. Juan de Fuca Strait (between Vic & the Olympics) carries very cold Alaska Current waters, which averages less than 10°C. Even in July/Aug a slight breeze makes Victoria very chilly.

    It’s not uncommon for parts of Van to be 5° warmer than Vic and Fraser Valley 8° – 10° warmer.

    The Van summer is 4 months long, but Vic is only 3, many years only 2 months. But while Van Spring is only 3 months long, Vic is 5, which is why it’s called the Garden City (damp & cool is perfect for plants).


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