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At any time of the year, Vancouver is sure to surprise and delight. Here's a little bit of information about the four seasons Vancouver enjoys and what you can expect when visiting during these times.
Vancouver can see its share of cooler weather as well as milder weather. It is a very cyclical pattern here in Vancouver, where you can generally not tell the forecast trends until they happen.
For the warmer winters, Vancouver tends to see quite pleasant temperatures from about 0 °C to 8°C (30° to 46°F). During this time, it is not uncommon for people to be able to cycle, and to enjoy outdoor activities around the city. Sometimes in Feburary, you would think it would be spring or summer with the fact that it is so warm. This comes with the weather pattern called El Niño (warmer ocean current). During the warmer years, Vancouver can get heavy rain, along with sunny periods all in the same day. There are some days, when there are storms brought on by the weather fronts. Typically during the warmer years, there will be anywhere from 100-120 mm (4-5 inches) of rain in most winter months, with as little as 50mm (2 inches) per month in Vancouver. Snow levels are diminished greatly during these times of year for warmer winters.
For cooler winters, we will see trends that go anywhere from -10°C to 0°C (14°F to 32°F). Days during these years can be quite cool, and the wind can be quite brisk. The best way to dress during these years are by layers, since when you're inside, you will warm up. Some will think that we will only see snow during these years, but we can see freezing rain as well as regular rain during these years. You can also commonly see high pressure ridges (sunny skies) develop, and these systems can be strong to the point of not allowing storms to come in. During these years, we can commonly see between 50-100 mm (15 - 39 inches) of rain on average, and then 40-100 cm (19 - 39 inches) of snow depending on the year.
You can golf and ski on the same day during the spring in Vancouver, with precipitation falling as snow at higher elevations, and rain nearer sea level. Please note that the rain falling at sea level is dependant on the year. There are times when we get snow or freezing rain even at sea level. The amount of rain is sharply reduced compared to winter, with roughly 5 cm (2 in) of rainfall each month. The temperature is warmer now, with April having a daily high averaging 13°C (55°F); by June, the average daily high has climbed to 19°C (66°F).
In cooler years, we can see anywhere from 8° to 12°C ( 46° to 54°F).
Summer is the season for all kinds of special events and festivals. The weather is warm, but not too hot, with average daily highs averaging 20°C (70°F) to roughly 30°C (86°F), and rainfall of roughly 4 cm (1.5 in) each month. Overnight lows in the summer are pleasantly cool, averaging 13°C (55°F). Summer is usually the driest of all of the seasons in Vancouver, with August usually being the driest summer month.
The weather cools in the fall months, with the daily high in October averaging 13°C (55°F); by December, the daily high has dropped to 6°C (43°F). Fall is the rainiest month in Vancouver; the month of October averages 10 cm (4 in) of rain, while November and December each receive about 18 cm (7 in) of rain.
For detailed climate information, go to Environment Canada's Vancouver climate page.
For more information on when to visit Vancouver, see the Tourism Vancouver website.