Winter got second wind in last part of February

·1 min read

Some wags call a spate of nice weather in February ‘fool’s spring’ – and this year it certainly was.

“Rain was more common than snow during [early February] and a stretch of milder temperatures beginning around February 3 allowed valley bottom snowpack to melt off by around the 15th,” says Jesse Ellis, a fire weather forecaster with the Southeast Fire Centre.

But after weeks of little precipitation and fine sunny weather, locals were hit by a series of storms bringing snow and cold back to the region at the end of the month.

“The classic snow-making scenario was in place by the 25th as a moisture-laden flow from the west over-rode the cold and dense modified Arctic air entrenched at the surface, producing 17 centimetres of new snow from 12.4 millimetres of melted-water equivalent,” he says.

That prevailing Arctic air also brought some record-breaking temperatures with it. Two daily minimum temperature records were broken in Castlegar, says Ellis:one on the 24th (-17°C) and one on the 27th (-14.4°C). That helped push the mean monthly temperature down to a little over a degree cooler than normal.

Ellis also notes that the trend is still towards dryer-than-normal conditions. With the cold temperatures, there was about half the amount of rain as normal in February, and 50% more snow than normal. But there’s still a deficit of water: total precipitation was 18% below average.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice