The singer who asked through song why it rains so much in Kitimat was asking a fair question.
The answer is as it is in real estate: location, location, location.
Now, first thing’s first, we’re not king of the rainy climate in our region. Prince Rupert has us beat on that. But even Prince Rupert is beat by Hartley Bay, which, according to Environment Canada, is the rainiest place in all of Canada.
By the numbers, Kitimat gets, on average, 1,886 mm of rain a year, or about six feet, says meteorologist Matt MacDonald.
Prince Rupert gets 3,060 mm, or about 10 feet.
Over in Hartley Bay its 4,673 mm, or about 15 feet.
“At least you guys get a little bit more sun,” said MacDonald, noting that Kitimat sees rain for 190 days a year. (“That’s pretty much one out of every two days.”)
Prince Rupert sees rain 235 days a year.
But, why does it rain so much?
The answer is the Pacific Ocean, or at least how its moisture hits the ground.
“The Pacific Ocean is such a source of humidity that any storm coming off the ocean is packing quite a bit of humidity. The surrounding topography of Kitimat helps increase those rainfall amounts,” said MacDonald.
Basically, the air mass moves up the Douglas Channel, forcing that moisture in to a smaller space, which squeezes out the rain. Then when the air hits the mountains even more water gets wringed out of the air.
It’s a similar story for most any community at the head of an inlet, he added.
“Without a doubt it’s definitely a rainy place to live,” added MacDonald.