Kelowna bids adieu to warm winter, hello to soggy spring

If you need something to raise a glass to, wait until 3:45 p.m. today and bid an official adieu to winter.

Still far from overflowing its banks after a good rainfall Thursday

If you need something to raise a glass to, wait until 3:45 p.m. today and bid an official adieu to winter.

Spring will be sprung at that moment, said Environment Canada meteorologist Lisa Coldwells, noting that it marks the end of a particularly mild winter.

The first time it snowed this winter was Nov. 21, and there last time it snowed was Feb. 5 and all in all, total precipitation (rain and snow) amounted to 107.2 centimetres.

“If we were to compare that number to a normal year, we are at 111 per cent of normal,” Coldwells said.

Where conditions differ is the  way that amount came down.

“Most of it fell during that monster snowstorm at the beginning of January,” she said.

There were between 35 to 40 centimetres across town during that storm, which is where the bulk of the seasons snow fell.

“Temperatures on the other hand have been quite warm,” she said.

For December, January and February, Kelowna usually sees a mean temperature —which reflects daytime highs and overnight lows—of -2 C.

This year the mean temperature was 0.9 C, which is two whole degrees above the usual seasonal average.

For January the mean temperature was very close to normal at 1.9 C this year compared to the usual 1.8 C.

It was in February that everything started to heat up.

“That’s when we started seeing a good warming trend,”she said.

Between Feb, 6  to Feb. 15, there were six temperature records toppled in those 10 days, with the most significant being when mercury rose to 13.2 C on Valentine’s day.

Temperatures started to fall at that point, but never significantly.

Then March creeped in, maintaining the status quo. From March the 7 to yesterday, Coldwells said there have been six temperature records again broken in the Kelowna area.

The highest being March 9 when the day high was 18.6 C.

So, what caused it?

“There’s been a broadscale upper ridge sitting over the coast of B.C. for the most of the winter,” she said. ” That’s the weather driver … it’s probably due to the very warm pool of water off the coast of B.C.”

Climatologist have been tracking the water, as there’s a strong relationship with the atmosphere and the ocean. The warm pool has been referred to as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, as it goes from warm to cold on a regular basis.

“At this moment, they say we’re at the peak of the warm,” she said, noting that time will tell whether that’s really the case.