The Olympic Mountain rainshadow, discussed earlier for its impact on precipitation in Victora, also affects the amount of sunshine. As winds flow down over the Olympics, the sinking air warms and dries, often resulting in a hole in the clouds. In fact this is so prevalent that airplane pilots often use this "hole in the clouds" as part of the visual navigation in the region around Victoria.
Victoria is the sunniest city in B.C. and one of the sunniest cities in Canada. Compared with 2,203 hours at Victoria Gonzales, the Victoria Airport averages 2,109 hours and Vancouver Airport gets 1938 hours. People are often surprised that Victoria gets more annual sunshine than the "sunny Okanagan" and other spots in the B.C. interior, including Kelowna (1949 hours), Penticton (1923 hours), and Kamloops (2,080 hours). Victoria also gets more sunshine than places like Toronto (2,066 hours), Montreal (2,051 hours). In Canada, only Prairie cities like Calgary (2,396 hours) get more annual sunshine than Victoria.
Obviously, the amount of sunshine varies throughout the year. In part, this is due to the seasonal changes in day length: Victoria gets roughly 16 hours of daylight in late June, but only about half that amount in late December. In addition, the percent of possible sunshine in Victoria varies significantly throughout the year. In July, it's sunny in Victoria for 70% of daylight hours while in December it is only sunny for 24% of possible daylight hours. As a result of these two factors, sunshine in Victoria ranges from an average 338 hours in July (nearly 11 hours per day on average) to just 63 hours in December (about two hours per day). Late spring and summer tends to be very sunny in Victoria, and just four months - May, June, July, and August - account for 54% of Victoria's annual sunshine. During the summer months, Victoria gets more sunshine than any other major city in Canada, including those on the Prairies.
On average, Victoria gets 317 days each year with at least some measurable sunshine. Not surprisingly, virtually every day in July - 30.3 out of 31 days - has measurable sunshine. However, even in sometimes gloomy December, there is at least some sunshine on an average 20.5 out of 31 days. On the flip side, Victoria gets just 48 days annually with no sunshine, compared with 76 days in Vancouver, 60 days in Toronto, and 32 days in Calgary.
The sunniest month on record at Victoria Gonzales was 426 hours in July 1985. That works out to an average of nearly 14 hours of sunshine per day. In July 2013, 432.8 hours of sunshine was recorded at the Victoria Airport - the sunniest month on record for any location in Canada (not including the Territories where northern locations can get 24 hours sunshine during the summer, resulting in very high monthly totals). While sunshine was no longer being recorded at Victoria Gonzales in 2013, Gonzales on average gets about 6% more sunshine than the Airport, so there is a good chance that it received even more sunshine than the Airport site. The least sunny month ever recorded at Victoria Gonzales was January 1982, with just 28.2 hours of sunshine - less than one hour per day.
The sunniest year on record in Victoria was 1951 when 2545 hours of sunshine were recorded, making it the sunniest year recorded for any location in B.C. The least sunny year in Victoria was way back in 1914 with just 1948 hours of sunshine, but keep in mind that this is still more than the average annual sunshine in Vancouver.
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