Where else can you find rivers, lakes, the ocean, mountains, and a valley all in the same place? Port Alberni has it all: an oceanfront valley settled in the mountains with plenty of rivers and lakes nearby. The long Alberni Inlet brings in mild coastal weather from the sea and acts as a heat sink for those hot summer days. These unique geological features contribute to its pleasant weather. Port Alberni is located in a temperate rainforest, meaning the average temperatures are quite mild, too. This moderate coastal climate is ideal for outdoor activities and comfortable living. Not too hot, not too cold - just right, all year long!
Spring is a beautiful time in the valley. It is a time when you start to see baby deer following behind their mothers, and many varieties of flowers and trees start to bloom. Common flora in this area include daffodils, crocuses, snowdrops, tulips, and much more. Gardening is a popular activity in the valley because of the long growth period that’s available. The weather slowly warms up during this time, with temperature highs around 8-12 degrees Celsius. There are many sunny days, and the shift in temperatures only brings mild winds from down the inlet. Generally, the weather is mild and gradually improves as the season progresses.
The Alberni Valley is part of a temperate rainforest, so it does rain in Port Alberni in order to have such impressive old-growth forests and a variety of plant life. Port Alberni gets around 170mm of rain on average each month. Of course, this number decreases greatly during the summer months and rises in the winter. The average rainfall for July is about 31mm, while rainy April clocks in around 140mm.
Summer is a great time to be in Port Alberni. Throughout the warmest months, the average temperature ranges between 12 and 25 degrees Celsius. Rarely, a heatwave pushes that number up past 30 but only for a few days, if at all. Most of the time the temperature is comfortable with sunny skies for days and days. Many people engage in water sports activities because the temperature of the water and the air complement each other so well. Going to places like Sproat Lake for a dip, or having a sunny picnic at Canal Waterfront Park are common activities. The best place to be on a hot summer day is right near the water, and Port Alberni has plenty of lakes, rivers, and oceanfront places to choose from! Some places can be a little too warm, but luckily Port Alberni has a perfect balance!
Out of the 365 days of the year, Port Alberni has around 273 days of sun each year. That means that almost 75% of the time you can expect to see the sun at least peeking through the clouds at some point in the day, up to a grand appearance in the summer months.
Th fall months bring a gradual decline in temperatures with an increase in precipitation. Like other seasons, Autumn is generally quite comfortable. In September, it is still warm enough for several outdoor events like the Alberni District Fall Fair, Port Alberni Toy Run, and the Salmon Fishing Derby to occur. There are many sunny and warm days even up to the end of September. October is more of a transitional month where the temperature drops become more noticeable. Although it is very rare to find snow on Halloween, it has happened in the past. Usually, October is marked with temperatures between 5-15 degrees Celsius. In November, that drops to a chilly 3 degrees low, but still above freezing. Backyard fire pits and good conversations with friends and family tend to offset the low temperatures.
Most of the year, the most intense wind you will encounter is a nice afternoon breeze from the Alberni Inlet. Although Port Alberni doesn’t have a “storm season,” the highest winds are usually in Fall. Once in a while, usually in October or November, strong wind storms can be known to happen with winds up to 90km/hr. These are quite rare occurrences, but they can happen on occasion, and are usually not unique to Port Alberni but span quite a larger area on the island. Bottom line, it isn’t something to be worried about but it also doesn’t hurt to have some candles on hand in case the power goes out.
Thhis is the big question! Some years Port Alberni gets a lot of snow, other years there’s hardly any. Even when Mount Arrowsmith is shimmering white from its snow-capped mountains, it isn’t a guarantee that it will snow in Port Alberni. On average, an entire year’s worth of snow might cap out at 80cm, or about 2.5 feet. If sledding in the snow or skiing and snowboarding is close to your heart - don’t worry, there are several mountains nearby that almost always have enough snow to enjoy these activities. A popular choice is Mount Washington.
In winter, when you’d expect to see the most extreme cooler temperatures, it can dip down as low as -10 degrees Celsius. However, most winter days it only drops a few degrees below freezing if at all. The average temperatures for December, January, and February are all about 3 degrees Celsius. It is cool enough to feel cozy wrapped up in your blanket by the fire, but not so cold that opening the door to let the cat out will set you back for hours to come.
Disclaimer: All informational data is from the Canada Climate Normals Station Data (1981-2010) using Port Alberni (Cox Lake Station) as a reference, unless otherwise stated. As the weather is unpredictable, actual values may vary.