No joke: Record breaking heat in Kelowna for April Fool’s Day

Environment Canada is predicting that mercury will rise to 22 C Tuesday, breaking a record of 21.4 set in 1994.

When you look at today’s temperature just remember; this is not an April Fool’s Day joke. It really is that hot.

Environment Canada is predicting that mercury will rise to 22 C Tuesday, breaking a record of 21.4 set in 1994.

It’s been awhile since it was this warm in Kelowna, said meteorologist Lisa Coldwells.

The last time the mercury reached 20 was Oct. 1, 2015, Coldwells  said.

“The warm temperatures will be brief, only five days, but the average temperature during the day is supposed to be 12 C. So when we get to 22 C it’s 10 C above normal for this time of year,” she said.

The reason for the warm stretch is El Nino.

“It’s a little bit to do with an El Nino spring and the ridge of high pressure that grew up from California and Oregon,” she said.

Warmer water currents caused a ridge of warmer air and that’s responsible for the weather pattern.

“Then on the weekend it starts to deteriorate,” she said.

“The temperatures won’t go to normal averages, but will still stay around the 15 C to 16 C range.”

Most of the spring, Coldwells said, should be warmer than usual due to the El Nino, while summer should stick to its regular pattern.

While sun lovers may be relishing the opportunity to get some rays or just see blue sky, there are some less than stellar side effects from warm weather patterns.

With a drought making headlines throughout 2015 for its effect on everything from fish stocks to wildfires, water supply is a question that is

Thus far the snowpack is being recorded as well above average.

“The question for  this year is how fast is it going to melt,” said Anna Warwick Sears, executive director of the Okanagan Water Basin Board.

“There’s no doubt that we will go into summer with full reservoirs. The lake will be full and the reservoirs will be full.”

But in this situation, she said, the streams that don’t have reservoirs are a concern.

“If the snow melts quickly and it’s a hot summer, we could end up with critically low stream flows with is a concern to fisheries regulators,” she said.

“Also, if it melts fast, Mission Creek could see high stream flows and that could cause erosion for people on those streams.”

Before the floods, however, another organization is warning that warm weather could cause a risk to outdoor enthusiasts.

Avalanche Canada issued a warning to recreational backcountry users to be ready for increased avalanche hazard.

This warning applies to all Avalanche Canada forecast regions, from the Yukon to the U.S. border and from the Pacific to the Rockies.

“We’re expecting this weather to have a big impact on the snowpack,” said Avalanche Canada warning service manager Karl Klassen.

“Given that many slopes have yet to see a full-blown warm up we are predicting a widespread and varied array of avalanche problems this week including cornice failures, surface-layer avalanches, and failure on deeper persistent weak layers.

“While this is not atypical weather for this time of year, clear-sky days often lead to underestimating hazard and failing to manage risk appropriately,” Klassen said.

“When the morning sun strikes alpine slopes and cornices, backcountry users should move onto terrain that’s safe from avalanches that start high above and run well into lower elevations.

“As daytime temperatures rise and the upper layers of the snowpack become moist or wet, recreationists are advised to avoid avalanche terrain completely. Starting trips in the morning when it’s still cold and before the sun rises, with the goal of being out of avalanche terrain by early afternoon at the latest, is a good risk management strategy.”

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