VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – You might have suspected it, but now it’s official: This month is the coldest February on record for the Vancouver area.
“February is going to go into the books as the coldest on record as recorded at YVR and they’ve been keeping records there since 1937, beating the old mark for the mean monthly temperature by a full half degree,” said NEWS 1130 Meteorologist Micheal Kuss.
“The old record set in 1989: 0.8 degrees for your mean. This month: 0.3 degrees.”
While it was also more snowy than usual this month, Kuss says it wasn’t enough to set a new record for snowfall. “Unofficially, we had 13 days with at least a trace of snow recorded around the area. On average, we get about one to two days of snow in February.”
“We picked up 30-plus centimetres of snow at YVR — many neighborhoods getting double that and more — but the average that we see in February at YVR: 6.3 centimetres.”
Those without a roof over their head felt the record-breaking cold temperatures. The Union Gospel Mission says February has been one of their busiest months of the winter.
“Every month is different but we’ve definitely seen an uptick in the number of people coming to us, the number of people asking for cold weather supplies,” said Jeremy Hunka with the charity.
“When the temperatures drop, typically the demand for life-saving services goes up because people are just struggling.”
The record-breaking cold has been hard for people without a roof over their head. The 72-bed shelter @ugm has been at capacity 19 nights this month. @JeremyHunka with the charity says it's been their busiest month of the winter. @NEWS1130
— Monika Gul (@MonikaGul) February 28, 2019
The Union Gospel Mission has a 72-bed shelter, which was at capacity 19 nights this month. The shelter has also had to use its overflow space for 18 nights in February.
Hunka notes long stretches of freezing temperatures like we saw in February can also affect the health of homeless people. “That’s when we start to see really concerning outcomes for people … who are vulnerable. Their bodies are exposed to the cold. They can get sick. They’re more at risk for long-term, more serious health risks.”
While this has been the coldest February on record, it likely hasn’t affected gardening. But that could change with another round of snow and frost.
“The real problem is if we have warm weather and then we get the cold weather again,” said Lisa Atkins with the Cultivated Gardeners.
“So when things start to bud out and then cold weather comes and kills off the tender new shoots, that’s a big problem.”
As for the snow we’ve gotten already, Atkins warns to make sure you shake it off your plants.
“I’ve noticed that if people don’t shake the snow off and then it turns into the more hard ice on the plants then that becomes problematic because it’s too heavy and can break branches.”