Okanagan winter pulled no punches

When it comes to summing up the seasons, Okanagan weather and water experts appear to be remarkably reserved.

When it comes to summing up the seasons, Okanagan weather and water experts appear to be remarkably reserved.

Speaking during a webinar hosted by the Okanagan Basin Water Board, Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist said we’ve had a “pretty average winter.”

The average temperature in Kelowna this season was -1.9 C, compared to a normal average of -2.6 C. There were 68 mm of precipitation this year, compared to the normal is of 90 mm.

The only  really abnormal thing to have occurred was the let-down named La Nina, a weather system rumoured to make life much chillier.

“There’s no connection for winter temperature (and La Nina) in the Okanagan,” said Lundqust.

“But we did find a connection in spring, there are higher number of springs in La Nina that are colder than normal and winter tends to linger.”

The new realization explains the phenomenon that frustrated gardeners last year with a spring that was put off by a number of weeks.

This year, however, it may not be so bad, predicts Lundquist.

“The lingering and coolness will be less of an issue,” he said, adding we still have a couple of weeks of wet-weather ahead of us.

That, of course, is good news for the water-wonks, who were also at the webinar.

Explaining that this is the make-or-break season for the watershed, representatives of the water board said they’d be closely monitoring how the next few weeks played out.

As of March 1, the snowpack —a key factor in determining future water supply—in the Okanagan is at 88 per cent of normal.

Regional staff with the province, stationed in the Okanagan, however,  are saying despite a slightly lower than average, they’re not expecting below normal conditions in the lake and area reservoirs.

Inflow levels were sitting at 70 per cent up until July, but in the last month they’ve  normalized.