Unseasonable weather leads to early flower blooms in Vancouver

After one of the warmest Decembers on record, some plants and flowers around Vancouver have begun to bloom.

Just days into January, Vancouver is already seeing signs of spring.

After one of the warmest Decembers on record, some plants and flowers around the city have begun to bloom, with daffodils on display along the English Bay seawall Thursday.

“This year, we were shocked,” one local told CityNews. “Yesterday, (we were) like ‘no,’ so very early, and it’s lovely.”

“I walk down here all the time and have for years and this is the first year I’ve ever seen them in January,” another resident said.

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation says while the daffodils are a cold weather flower variety that often shows up earlier than others, they typically don’t bloom before February.

Douglas Justice, the associate director at the UBC Botanical Garden, says the daffodils — and other plants, like the Sweet Box — are making an early appearance because of the cold snap we saw in October.

“It satisfied the chilling requirement for those things that don’t really need a really big, long chilling. So, having been cold and now warming up, they think it’s spring,” he explained.

“We’re seeing a lot of plants in flower in January that we would normally not see until March probably at the earliest.”

But the daffodils aren’t here to stay. Freezing temperatures are starting to set in this weekend and into next week, with even snow in the forecast for some parts of the Lower Mainland.

Justice says the flowers are too delicate to survive.

“Flowers can’t tolerate those kind of temperatures, and so they’re going to get frosted off, it’s going to look, probably pretty, bad, but generally speaking those daffodils that came up — the bulbs — they’re far enough down in the ground that they’re not going to be affected,” he said.

However, Justice says this does mean these daffodils won’t make their next appearance until next year.

Cooler temperatures arrive

CityNews Meteorologist Michael Kuss says winter is finally reaching B.C., with the first longer-lasting blast of cold arriving.

“Arctic air starts to plunge down from the north but I am expecting sun both Saturday and Sunday, with a sub-zero morning low on Sunday, down to -1°C or -2°C under the clear sky,” he said Thursday morning.

“Monday’s a little up in the air, so temperatures are going to be in that 3°C to 5°C range. It does look like it will be a rain event across the Lower Mainland, but the rain-snow line is going to be down pretty low, and close to some upper-elevation neighbourhoods.”

He notes there’s a greater chance of snow across the region, right down to sea level, later in the week.

Listen to CityNews 1130 for weather updates every 10 minutes after traffic on the ones. You can also follow Meteorologist Michael Kuss on X and subscribe to breaking news alerts sent directly to your inbox.

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