A blog about life in the Bella Coola Valley and the Central Coast area of British Columbia for anyone interested in an incredible and rich part of BC's coast. I hope to provide my thoughts about things as simple as weather observations and seasonal issues, to comments about life and the natural history in the Bella Coola Valley, the Central Coast and the west Chilcotin area.
Note: All photos on this blog were taken by the author unless otherwise noted. While the photos and written material are all the property of the author and protected by Copyright, I'm not a professional photographer and you can use the photos if a link or attribution is provided back to my blog. If you have a need to use a particular photo and you want the high resolution file, leave a comment with your email (I won't publish it) and we can discuss what use you intend the photo for. Grizzly
A resident of the Bella Coola Valley and observer of the natural history, geography, resources, regional climate and cultural history of the Bella Coola Valley, Central Coast and the West Chilcotin area of BC.
Happy New Year from Mr. and Mrs. Grizzly to all my blog readers! Thank you for reading it and I hope you got one or two useful items from it this year. Thank you to everyone who posted comments, I appreciate them.
Today was a 'tween' day in the annals of Bella Coola Valley weather history. No major weather in any direction and no wind. It was a nice day for a short outing on North Bentinck Arm. It was very quiet on the water with only a few seals patrolling around for something interesting and no boating activity. Grizzly
The snow that started last night in the Bella Coola Valley ended up with 3-7" of very wet snow by this morning. In most of the valley the rest of the day was cold wet rain - not very inspiring or nice to be out or driving around in. Hoping for something better soon in Bella Coola - Grizzly
Today was a good improvement on the weather front for the Bella Coola Valley, but only for today, because by tonight a light snowfall had started. It was a good chance for getting outdoors and enjoying the river today. Grizzly
The only sign of a white Christmas in the Bella Coola Valley was the old wet snow leftover from earlier in the month. The steady rain for part of Christmas day helped to knock that back some more. Merry Christmas. Grizzly
It's kind of disappointing when we get a wet Christmas, especially after having snow on and off for a month and putting up with plowed driveways and slippery highways. Unfortunately though this afternoon it rained pretty hard in the Bella Coola Valley for most of the afternoon. It can change quickly though and maybe we will see an improvement tomorrow. Hopefully all the families traveling made it safely to their destinations.
Grizzly and his family wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas and hope that you get to enjoy relaxing and pleasant times. Grizzly
Plus 6 C is the temperature down around Hagensborg today, with a heavy rain starting around dark and cloudy skies most of the day. Minus 6 and blue sky was the temperature at East Branch at the top of The Hill in Heckman Pass today. It was very pleasant at East Branch, but not so nice down in the valley tonight with the hard rain. Grizzly
No weather extremes in the Bella Coola Valley today, just steady temperatures at 0 C and no winds. The clear skies faded in the afternoon as some cloud moved in and starts to prepare us for the next period of instability. It will get better now that we are past the solstice and fully into winter. Grizzly
After 4 days of mostly rain, with one of snow, this afternoon appears to be a change day in the Bella Coola Valley - at least for a day and then more snow/rain/freezing for the rest of the week and the Christmas weekend is forecast. In spite of all those days of rain, because the freezing level stayed near the valley bottom or at least below 1000 m, the Bella Coola River is up and a little bit coloured, but still not in bad shape. Grizzly
At the risk of messing up real bad in spelling and describing the location of another range of important mountains in the West Chilcotin after last weekend's attempt at describing and spelling the Ilgachuz Range, I had to take the plunge because the photo I was able to get today of the nearly perfect view easterly from the top of the Tweedsmuir Ski Club ski hill was too good to pass up. The Ilgachuz Range is on the left and the Itcha Range is on the right.
While the Ilgachuzs are North of Anahim Lake, the Itchas are 43 km Northeast of Anahim Lake. Both look really impressive in the winter after a fresh snowfall.
On the weather front, I gave up with Bella Coola Valley weather after 48 hours of wet snow and well over 100 mm of cold rain, I went to East Branch which is in Tweedsmuir Park at the top of the Highway 20 hill. In a space of an hour's travel the temperature changed from 0 C with heavy cloud to -10 C and as blue as you see in the photo, that's the beauty of the rain shadow effect of the Coast Mountains and Bella Coola, you can always escape into the sun by going east. The rainstorm in Bella Coola brought about 50 cm of powder snow to the East Branch area, with a base at the ski hill of 142 cm (56"), conditions are in good shape for snowboarding, cross country skiing and snowmobiling at East Branch. Meanwhile the temperature continues to hang around 0 C and 1 C in the Bella Coola Valley. Grizzly
Since noon on Friday, the Bella Coola Valley has been receiving continuous and fairly heavy rain, something in excess of 100 mm in 24 hours. The temperature at valley bottom has not moved between 0 C and 1 C further west at the airport. The rain is not freezing rain but it is very cold and after all that rain fell, there has not been a noticeable melt in the 20 cm snow that fell Thursday night and Friday morning, even the snow on the trees has not fallen. It's a good thing, because the total precipitation in this storm was well up there and with the right thawing conditions and the high snow pack already in the mountains, it could have been a moderate flood. Sorry no photo again - the clouds and mist never lifted enough to see the mountains. Grizzly
A mess is what the Bella Coola Valley looked like this afternoon. Last night we received +-20 cm of snow, but by mid morning in most of the lower valley it had turned to rain. The temperature persisted right around 0 C all day, even tonight, but the precipitation has been mostly heavy rain. I'm pretty sure the snow level is low, and most of the precipitation is coming down as snow at higher altitudes, because I've heard several avalanches rumbling off the mountains tonight and my satellite internet has been out for while which it does when there is heavy snow up in the atmosphere. Let's hope the weather rain warning we have is gone for tomorrow, maybe I'll be able to get a picture. Grizzly
Even if I had tried it would have been a waste of time trying to get a photo in the lower Bella Coola Valley today, it was such a dreary, foggy, slightly drizzly day that you would have been disappointed. Tonight it has turned to snow in my portion of the valley, so we'll probably get a little bit, but it's close to rain lower down the valley. Grizzly
On Tuesday the Bella Coola Valley received a bit more snow throughout most of the valley. By late Tuesday afternoon it had turned to a light rain and that's kind of the way it's been off and on the rest of Tuesday and for today. The freezing level is just barely above the valley floor, where you can see a clear snow line, but on the valley bottom, 0 C is enough to keep most of the areas snow covered. Grizzly
Grizzly is up to the task of admitting mistakes. In my post on Sunday on the Ulkatcho Mountains, I used a wrong spelling which is more commonly associated with the Ulkatcho First Nations reserve (and home of famous NHL'er Carey Price) and the old settlement of Ulkatcho. The correct spelling of the mountains according to Natural Resources Canada, who keep the official Geographic Names of Canada database is Ilgachuz Range
I'll even go so far as to restate that the Ilgachuz Ranges are actually north of Anahim Lake BC and not "east" as originally stated or "northeast" in my comment to "O" since the longitude given by Natural Resources Canada of Anahim Lake is 125º 19' W while the Ilgachuz Range is listed by Natural Resource Canada located at 125º 15' W, hardly worth arguing with, over 4' of EASTERLY longitude, but definitely not west of Anahim as suggested by "O" - well maybe the 'foothills' of the Ilgachuz might spill over to the west a tiny bit!! I hope "O" will still read my blog to keep me on my toes! Grizzly
A view of the distant Ulkatcho Mountains located to the east of Anahim Lake, B.C. The view is from the top of the small Tweedsmuir Ski Club ski hill in Tweedsmuir Park. It was a nice day in the Bella Coola Valley and the Chilcotin. Grizzly
Environment Canada was accurate with the weather predictions. Depending on where you lived in the Bella Coola Valley you received between 5 and 8 cm of snow which started around midnight and quit just after daylight. It made seeing the lunar eclipse in Bella Coola a non event. The scenery was nice this morning as the snow was just perfect for sticking on the trees. Grizzly
After the Great Flood of 2010 and then again the 2011 flood, the banks of the Bella Coola River are lined with a whole new crop of trees leaning over the river caused by undermined banks. These are favourites of the bald eagles who now have many of these trees that allow them to sit directly over the river and spend hours staring down waiting for an unsuspecting coho or trout to come along. The water s getting very clear now as well which makes their challenge a little bit easier.
A little bit of a weather system is sliding through Bella Coola tonight as it moves down the coast. It warmed up from -4 C to 0 in relatively short time period and is supposed to snow a bit overnight before returning back to some better weather later on the weekend. Grizzly
I was away a few days this week. A couple of days were warmer and really knocked back the snow on the valley bottom, so that a lot of areas which had snow are nearly bare. Today was nice and the skies this evening are clear with -3 C temperatures. Grizzly
Today was a non eventful weather day in the Bella Coola Valley. The eagles are watching the Bella Coola River closely for late coho and the valley deer are enjoying lght snow pack on the valley bottom that makes their life easy. No rain/snow or major wind events today and some better weather forecast. Grizzly
Last weekend in the Bella Coola Valley when we were experiencing some of the heavy rainfall the coast was getting, parts of the lower Bella Coola Valley warmed up and the snow on the mountains in the lower elevations started to liquefy for a period. During a brief period there were a number of spots between Hagensborg and the Bella Coola Valley wharf where debris avalanches occurred -- flows of mostly snow mixed with wood, soil and rock. When they came down it happened quickly and because they were highly liquid they flowed a long way into places not seeing that type of event for a long time. Grizzly
Two more weeks of what? December 15th is my benchmark for when we've finally made it through the summer to winter transition and the relentless fall Pacific storm season on the coast. It's only my rule of thumb subject to wide variation but it seems a week or so before the equinox is when things finally stabilize and the weather systems we get are either more blue sky weather and cold or they are rain or snow storms that seem to have a beginning/middle and an end in a short period of time. Of course this fall and last fall being back to back La Nina years might make my observations irrelevant. Grizzly
We had to wait till the last day of November to have a break from "miserable November weather", but we did get a break. Clearing off in the late morning brought spectacular mountain views. We are enjoying a relatively rare Pacific high pressure system as opposed to the Arctic high pressure system that can also bring blue skies, but often nasty east or Arctic outflow winds. Mount Nusatsum was impressive today. Grizzly
Lots of mixed wet/snowy weather continuing in the Bella Coola Valley. The Bella Coola River is in good shape after the heaviest weekend rains, but snow continues to fall at higher elevations and rain and snow mixed in the valley bottom such that the lower valley is mostly bare and as you go east a bit of snow is staying on the ground. Grizzly
After a wet, wild and windy weekend on the coast, the Bella Coola Valley and the Chilcotin area in general, there is a whole lot more snow in the mountains. Some melted in the valley bottom while lots of rain fell, but in Heckman Pass on Highway 20, the snow level has been doubled up since Friday. About 2 feet of fresh. Grizzly
Bella Coola's two post offices (one in downtown Bella Coola and one in Hagensborg) look pretty modern compared to this one at the community of Tatlayoko BC (west of Tatla Lake in the Chilcotin), but it looks like a pretty efficient post office as well, I'm sure you can get everything you want here. Grizzly
Winter is well along it's way on Highway 20 at Heckman Pass with nearly 3 feet of snow and more falling as I passed by the gauge. There is a pretty serious forecast for lots of rain in Bella Coola tonight and tomorrow. Hopefully the rains don't bring flood levels. If the freezing levels stay down relatively low it may mean a significant dump of snow in the mountains and no floods. Grizzly
At least the Bella Coola River has been stable and predictable the last few weeks, unlike the weather that seems to swing every day. Wet snow and rain yesterday, cool with a couple breaks today. We didn't get the big wind that the rest of the coast got, but that's one advantage of living deep in the mountains on the coast -- we often don't get the full wind effects of the big SE fall storms. Grizzly
Today exemplifies why I think the month of November is the worst in Bella Coola. From what was forecast as a 10-15 cm snowfall overnight, what we actually got is wet globs of snow topped with rain most of the night. The valley bottom was messy (including the roads) this morning. Heard there was up to a foot of snow on "The Hill" (Hwy 20) which will really speed up the winter activities in Tweedsmuir Park (Cross Country, Snowmobiling and Snowboard/skiing at our little ski hill). Even the usually visually appealing snowberries looked depressed in the rain today. Grizzly
The photo today is what the mountains look like when there are warnings of a snow fall for the Bella Coola Valley. Most of the day the mountains were grey with high altitude snow and fog. We are supposed to get a little bit of snow overnight according to Environment Canada. Grizzly
In the upper part of the Bella Coola Valley it was a day of mostly lazy light snow. With morning temperatures around -8 C, and warming up to -3 C this evening, it was quite pleasant. The east wind also stopped yesterday, so that was a pretty minor outflow for Outflow #1. Grizzly
I'm going to count the outflow events that happen this winter in Bella Coola. I think most winters we average about 3-5 significant east winds. I will only count the ones where the winds are really blowing and it really isn't a comfortable warm feeling. This one arrived last evening and while not real intense (Cathedral Point - Burke Channel winds are only gusting to 80 km/h), the temperature at - 6 or -8 C and good strong steady winds at the Bella Coola Airport make it feel pretty uncomfortable. There are three possible endings to outflows in my experience: 1. It just warms up and the wind stops and you suddenly feel really comfortable outside again, 2. It turns to freezing rain and there is a miserable coating of ice or 3. We get a huge dump of snow usually measured in feet. Sunday and Monday will be the end of this outflow, stay tuned. For a good description of outflow events see Dr Hadorn's website. Grizzly
Most of the lower Bella Coola Valley received some snow last night, although towards town it there was very little and in other areas up to 2 cm, just a nice light November snow. Again like the other day the views of the Coast Mountains were nothing short of breathtaking when the sun was on the them for awhile. The photo today is the fresh snow on Mount Nusatsum. Grizzly
Last night we had a brief period of wet snow in some areas, the kind that sticks and freezes thick on the windshield, but didn't leave too much of a trace in the valley. This kind of snowfall usually makes some spectacular views of the mountains the next day because it tends to stick on the them as well. That was the case today with virtually all the peaks. The photo today is of Salloomt Peak at 1873 m (6145'). It has several Comshells (Communications Shells) on it, one on the top and one down on the left. The one on the left is how part of the Bella Coola Valley gets its internet service through a series of valley bottom and mountain top repeater sites operated by the Central Coast Communications Society. Grizzly
Today in the Bella Coola Valley was on of those 'feels like winter' anytime now days. All day long there were brisk winds and ominous grey to to the east and brief little periods of a few snow flakes -- all warnings of something bigger building. Environment Canada is strongly suggesting it's going to snow the rest of the week as well. It's about the right time for it to happen, but in November you never know if it's going to be a few inches of wet November concrete like snow or a full on winter dump of snow measured in feet....Grizzly
It's been a wet week in the Bella Coola Valley and today continued that theme with the snow level well down. My rain gauge had 2 1/4 inches of rain since Tuesday, forecasts are for more wet, but cooler so snow later in the week. Grizzly
Iron in the ground and the problems it creates in conjunction with iron loving bacteria is a real frustrating problem in the Bella Coola Valley for those people on wells. I've written a few posts illustrating the iron in the valley. Finding a water supply where you don't have orange colour water or a strong taste of iron can be challenging, especially sometimes when you can see a clear cold river or stream close by. I caught this photo the other day along the banks of the Bella Coola River where the banks have recently eroded. It shows a clear layer of water that is interacting in a high iron zone along with iron loving bacteria producing the rich red colours. Grizzly
Bella Coola has an early cross country skiing season one hour away from the valley - this year they started setting trails on November 3 and and last spring finished up at the end of April, a full 6 month skiing season. Check out the what the guys are up to and trail conditions over at the Tweesmduirski blog. Grizzly
Winter comes quickly to the Heckman Pass portion of Highway 20 when it finally decides to turn. One day people are talking about the snow 'sticking at the top' and before you know it, it's frozen and the snow is piling up on the snow gauge. Grizzly
Any November day in the Bella Coola Valley without rain or snow is a good day. That's the kind of day it was today. Some bright spots with a bit of sun, then lots of grey as the day ended, but all around good. Grizzly
There has been some light touches of frost this fall in a few parts of the Bella Coola Valley, but today was the first morning of a 'window scraper' frost. After daylight though it was a nice day reaching 3 C with a bit of filtered sunlight. The Bella Coola River looks very nice (today's photo). Grizzly
Quit a pleasant change in the weather this afternoon as the forecast Arctic ridge moved down over the coast. It cleared out all the cloud in the afternoon and it was a beautiful November day. The Environment Canada forecast even warmed up some of the forecast temperatures for the next few days so we might get lucky and have a nice stretch of weather without too much east wind to start the wintery season off.
Mount Nusatsum in the photo looked splendid this afternoon. Grizzly
Long time blog readers might recall that November is not my favourite month in the Bella Coola Valley. It's the final transition month between fall and winter and for the valley and the coast in general it can be marked by relentless cold wet weather, rainstorms, winds, some huge snowfalls of wet snow and nasty arctic outflow winds. But today was a good start, very cool and brisk feeling and nothing dramatic for weather. Grizzly
It was a very nice Halloween for all the kids to get out and about tonight in the Bella Coola Valley. A nice evening temperature of 5 C, a few small spits of rain and later in the evening I saw a few stars. Mrs. Grizzly had to phone a couple neighbors to make sure we got a few trick or treaters to stop around our rural neighborhood. Grizzly will have to eat the leftovers. Grizzly
That was a good 25 mm of rain from late yesterday and into mid morning this morning. But then it stopped and the rest of the day had a few blue patches, minor showers and just grey. The Bella Coola River is in good shape though - hardly noticeable that there was an inch of rain overnight, but that's because the snow level is creeping down and all the moisture came down as snow in the mountains. Grizzly
I wondered what has been keeping a squirrel so busy over in one corner of our yard for the last few weeks. Today I checked it out and was suprised to see the sizeable cache of Red Alder tree seed cones. I hope it's not an omen for winter.
The weather today in the Bella Coola Valley was pretty decent until about 2 PM, then the rain moved in and it was a light rain for the afternoon, but tonight as I post this it's a little bit more on the downpour side. Grizzly