Shuswap experiences coldest February in 83 years

Shuswap experiences coldest February in 83 years

Arctic air, keeping region cold and dry throughout the month, expected to continue into March

It’s been a cold, dry February for the Shuswap – the coldest the region has seen in 83 years.

Environment Canada meteorologist Matt MacDonald says the average temperature for Salmon Arm this February is -8.2 C, whereas the normal is typically around 0 C.

“Looking back through the records that begin in 1911, this is the coldest February since 1936, and it would be the third coldest on record since 1911…,” said MacDonald, calling the anomalous cold month “truly remarkable.”

“It’s normal to see these arctic outbreaks a couple of times throughout the winter, but what’s been exceptional this February has just been the persistence of this cold air.”

The arctic air arrived in the Shuswap on Feb. 3. The following day was the coldest of the month, with a daytime high of -11.9 C. The coldest overnight low was on Feb. 10 and that was -20.5 C.

MacDonald said it has also been a dry month, with the Shuswap receiving only about 80 per cent of the usual precipitation.

Read more:Okanagan-Shuswap: Snowfall warning in effect

Read more: Sunny day draws many skiers out onto Salmon Arm Bay

“If we look at winter as a whole, if we include December and January, we only picked up 91 millimetres of precipitation, compared to a normal of 179 mm, said MacDonald. “So that works out to about 50 per cent of normal precipitation for the whole winter.

“With this arctic air in place throughout February, it’s hard to squeeze any moisture out of that. We’ve had a few systems come across the province and deliver small snowfalls but yeah, it’s been a really cold month, not just in Salmon Arm but right across B.C., with several stations reporting some of their coldest Februaries on record.”

Unfortunately, adds MacDonald, the cold will be sticking around into March.

“The first third of March is looking like these colder-than-normal conditions are going to persist and finally…,” said MacDonald. “It looks like the week before the official arrival of spring we’ll finally get closer to normal temperatures.”

On a positive note, MacDonald said with the cold, dry air there at least tends to be a lot of sun.


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