As fog finally lifts, cloudy skies forecast moves in

Victoria has had a month’s worth of fog in less than a week, and the good news in the forecast is that the blanket of low cloud is about to lift.

The bad news? The fog that settled on Greater Victoria Oct. 16 is about to be replaced by clouds. No sunshine is in the forecast until at least Saturday.

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The fog “is a bit depressing, but it’s not rare or infrequent,” Environment Canada climatologist David Phillips said Monday.

Fog is normal for the West Coast from October through January, he said.

“The fact you’re seeing it now is not necessarily breaking records because it’s very much part of your climate,” he said.

Victoria experienced two weeks of foggy weather in January 1985, October 1986 and October 1988.

“October is really the season of fog,” he said.

The East Coast usually has more days of fog than the West Coast. Phillips studied 100 Canadian cities and, based on historical data, Victoria has an average of 24 foggy days each year and sits at No. 66 in the foggiest-city ranking.

The most recent fog was the result of a high-pressure ridge sitting on the coast. Cooler, moist air was trapped underneath and couldn’t circulate. The conditions decreased visibility to less than a kilometre.

The low visibility has thrown Helijet flight schedules for a loop, said Rick Hill, vice-president of operations.

“There have been a few spells like this, but not usually this many days in a row,” Hill said Monday.

Customers have had to reschedule or accept refunds, he said.

“They are pretty good about it — they do understand that weather is weather,” Hill said.

Flights are planned hour by hour, Hill said.

“The fog can roll in and roll right back out again,” he said.

Harbour Air flights out of Victoria Harbour were also severely hampered because of the fog.

The fog caused problems for B.C. Ferries’ Campbell River-Quadra Island route when the vessel’s radar was malfunctioning. Service was stopped Sunday evening but resumed Monday afternoon.

Environment Canada’s forecast calls for maximum high temperatures of 11°C through to Saturday.

smcculloch@timescolonist.com

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