Advertisement

B.C. year in review 2017: weather, a story of ice and fire

At left, a snowy street in Vancouver in December 2016. At right, the sun is obscured by smoke amid wildfires near Kelowna in September 2017. CP

B.C.’s 2017 weather story was one of extremes.

Winter brought heavy snowfall, icy roads and salt hoarding in Vancouver.

A man navigates an ice-covered street in Vancouver, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Summer brought sunny weather, but also a record-breaking heat wave and smoky air.

And that was largely thanks to a bevy of wildfires burning around the province.

Story continues below advertisement
The sun is obscured by smoke from wildfires in the distance behind burnt trees in Williams Lake, B.C., on Sunday, July 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The extreme conditions provided no end of stories to tell about the weather this year.

Here we reflect on what was, for much of 2017, a story of ice and fire.

Jan. 2: Vancouver residents play hockey on city streets

Click to play video: 'Skating on Vancouver’s streets' Skating on Vancouver’s streets
Skating on Vancouver’s streets – Jan 2, 2017

Who needs a rink when you can play hockey right outside your front door?

Story continues below advertisement

The street near Vancouver’s John Oliver Secondary School at St. George Street and East 41st Avenue was iced up enough that kids were able to strap on skates and play some shinny — not the most common sight in a city with typically mild winters.

Jan. 5: For the 1st time in 20 years, Vancouver residents can skate on Trout Lake

Click to play video: 'Finally, skating is allowed on Trout Lake' Finally, skating is allowed on Trout Lake
Finally, skating is allowed on Trout Lake – Jan 5, 2017

The year was 1996. “Macarena” was on the radio, puffy vests were in style and Will Smith was king of the box office in Independence Day.

It was also the last time that Vancouver’s Trout Lake had frozen over enough to allow skating.

But the dry (or wet) spell ended in 2017, when the Vancouver Park Board determined that, with 12 centimetres of solid ice, the lake was thick enough to skate upon.

Story continues below advertisement

Families relished the opportunity to put skates to ice they hadn’t touched in decades.

Jan. 5: Mayhem at Vancouver fire halls as residents break the line for the free salt

Click to play video: 'Chaos as Vancouver residents scramble for free salt' Chaos as Vancouver residents scramble for free salt
Chaos as Vancouver residents scramble for free salt – Jan 5, 2017

The City of Vancouver’s salt giveaway turned into a scene out of Lord of the Flies as people stepped out of line and started rushing the piles amid snow and frigid temperatures.

Global BC’s Jordan Armstrong reported that the salt pile had vanished in five minutes.

People had lined up for salt since 6 a.m., and police were called to two fire halls when tempers started to flare.

Jan. 6: Rich Shaughnessy homeowners fail to shovel their snow

Click to play video: 'Shaughnessy’s icy sidewalks are a serious matter' Shaughnessy’s icy sidewalks are a serious matter
Shaughnessy’s icy sidewalks are a serious matter – Jan 5, 2017

City of Vancouver bylaws state that homeowners have to shovel the snow from sidewalks in front of their properties.

Story continues below advertisement

Tell that to a number of homeowners in Vancouver’s tony Shaughnessy neighbourhood, where as many as half the sidewalks weren’t cleared in early January.

Some residents that Global News spoke to said it was too much work to clear the snow. Others said they were “too busy.”

Jan. 9: Dashcam footage shows perils of winter driving on Highway 1 through Fraser Canyon

Click to play video: 'Dashcam video shows dangers of winter driving' Dashcam video shows dangers of winter driving
Dashcam video shows dangers of winter driving – Jan 9, 2017

Driving was tough in Vancouver last winter.

But dashcam footage from a commercial trucker on Highway 1 in the Fraser Canyon showed just how bad conditions can get in other parts of B.C.

As Clayton Brown drove by on a morning in January, he spotted a skidding fuel truck, a semi stuck on the side of the road and various broken down vehicles along the way.

Story continues below advertisement

Jan. 12: PHOTOS: It’s so cold in Vancouver ice is floating down the Fraser River

Ice floes seen on the Fraser River in January 2017.
Ice floes seen on the Fraser River in January 2017. Robyn Smillie

With temperatures falling to as low as -10 degrees Celsius on B.C.’s South Coast, frozen floes were seen floating down the Fraser River.

The river used to freeze over in the early 20th century, but this was very new for people who weren’t around back then.

May 1: Rain, rain go away: fourth-wettest April on record for Metro Vancouver

Click to play video: 'Soggy spring blues' Soggy spring blues
Soggy spring blues – May 1, 2017

April 2017 was Metro Vancouver’s fourth-rainiest on record.

Story continues below advertisement

And that was good news, given predictions that it would be the wettest ever.

April had 21 days of rain, six more than the average for the month, according to Global BC meteorologist Mark Madryga.

At 134 millimetres, the month still trailed the rainiest-ever, which came in 1996 with 172 millimetres, as well as 1983 and 2003.

So snow wasn’t the only extreme that Metro Vancouverites experienced this year.

Aug. 3: B.C.’s heat wave is breaking maximum temperature records that have stood for over 100 years: report

Click to play video: 'Vancouver City Hall issues warning about heat wave hitting south coast' Vancouver City Hall issues warning about heat wave hitting south coast
Vancouver City Hall issues warning about heat wave hitting south coast – Aug 1, 2017

Baking hot summer temperatures broke records all over the province in August.

In Agassiz, the temperature hit 35.6 degrees Celsius, on Aug. 2, beating a same-day temperature record of 34.4 degrees that had been set in 1898.

Story continues below advertisement

Chilliwack also saw a sweltering hot temperature of 35.6 degrees Celsius on Aug. 2, beating a record of 32.8 degrees that was set in 1927.

Sept. 8: Vancouver’s smoky haze is dragging down the scenery, and you. Here’s how.

Click to play video: 'Smoky air from wildfires getting you down?' Smoky air from wildfires getting you down?
Smoky air from wildfires getting you down? – Sep 7, 2017

Metro Vancouver spent much of the summer under a cloud of smoke as wildfires raged around the province.

A haze persisted for weeks, forcing authorities to advise people to avoid strenuous exercise outdoors.

The smoke left people feeling a little down — and doctors said this is because the fine particles that came with haze can enter the brain and lead to “neuro-inflammation,” affecting one’s mood and their cognitive abilities.

So if you were feeling a little gloomy through August and September, you weren’t just imagining things.

Story continues below advertisement

Oct. 19: Vancouver floods with rain from a ‘river in the sky’

Click to play video: 'Heavy rainfall in Metro Vancouver' Heavy rainfall in Metro Vancouver
Heavy rainfall in Metro Vancouver – Oct 18, 2017

Snow, smoke and finally flooding.

Metro Vancouver faced a trifecta of extreme weather in 2017, and it was capped off by a storm that felled trees and left cars driving in bumper-high water.

October’s intense rains came from what’s known as an “atmospheric river,” a long system that transports water vapour outside the tropics, said the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This particular “river in the sky” was 8,000 kilometres long.

Sponsored content