Fall heatwave sets new records

Farmers were shaking their heads at the weekend’s record-breaking high temperatures, yet everyone had to dig out their sweaters as the mercury plunged overnight Sunday, from five degrees above normal to six degrees below.

Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist says we’ve had drought conditions this summer, with below normal amounts of precipitation since May, even though spring was late and cool.

The mercury zoomed up to 32.1 C on Sept. 23 and 30.1 C the next day, six days later than the temperature had ever hit 30 C before in Kelowna.

Both days, new records were set, topping the old records of 27.8 C in 1990 on the 23rd, and 28.7 set in 2009 for the 24th.

Lundquist said the record warmth was the result of an unusually intense frontal system that drew sub-tropical hot air in over us with enough winds to stir the warm air aloft, down to the surface.

Temperatures moderated slightly on Sept. 25, with a high of 24 C, then dropped abruptly on the 26th to a high of 13.6 C. Normal highs would have been 19 C with a low of 4 C.

However, there was only the one cold day and temperatures returned to near-normal with a high of 19.5 C on the 27th. The forecast is for daily high temperatures of 23 C to 16 C in the next few days.

Rain in August varied considerably around the region, with 1.6 mm in Peachland for the month; 6.8 mm at the Kelowna airport, but 40 to 50 mm in southeast Kelowna, where flooding caused considerable damage to Crawford Road and properties in the area on Aug. 10.

Without that, August was the driest on record, with almost all of the month’s precipitation in the one event, noted Lundquist.

September has also been extremely dry up to now, with 2.2 mm in Peachland and 4.7 mm at the airport in Kelowna, compared to the normal there of 32.7 mm for the month.

Looking ahead, Lundquist said probabilistic forecasts suggest the next three months could be colder than normal, with a 50 to 60 per cent likelihood of that.

However, beyond that, he said it is expected this will be another year of La Nina, the colder Pacific ocean streams that impact weather here by tending to push average temperatures down a degree or two and a tendency to produce snowier weather.

Even more noticeable, La Nina tends to result in a spring that doesn’t warm as much, noted Lundquist.



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