Temperature records toppled around the Okanagan Wednesday in what turned out to be an almost balmy day.
The weather system that wreaked havoc elsewhere in B.C., bringing heavy rains and significant runoff from previously snow-covered mountains offered the Okanagan some unusually pleasant weather.
“These have been some pretty incredible temperatures,” said Geoff Coulson, warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada.
In Vernon, Penticton and Kelowna the daytime high-temperature record for Dec. 1 was broken before 11 a.m., Coulson said.
Temperatures reached 17.5 C in Vernon Wednesday, which Coulson said broke the record of 11.2 C set in 2012. Records have been kept in that city since 1900.
In Kelowna, the mercury reached 13 C by 7 a.m., which was the previous record set on Dec. 1, 2012. By the peak of the day, however, the temperature had risesn to 17.8 C at the official weather station. Temperatures have been recorded in this area since 1899.
Penticton was the valley hotspot and had a high of 22.5 C Wednesday, which also broke a December 2012 record of 11.2 C. Records have been kept here since 1907.
The unseasonable warmth is from the big storm system on the coast heading inland. It raised freezing levels through the mountains then as the west winds moved downslope it warmed up the valley dramatically, he said.
“We are in for a transition on Thursday,” he said. “Colder air will filter into the valley during the day … that will mean daytime highs of about 9 to 10 C, above normal, but not record-setting.”
Usually at this time of year, high temperatures range from 0 to -1 C and lows are around -5 C to -7 C. Coulson said those will likely return in the following week.
As for why the Okanagan is getting warm and dry days while much of the province struggles with intense rain, Coulson said it’s all due to topography – the mountains dividing the mainland from the interior have a ringing out effect on weather systems.
“The Okanagan lies in a bit of a sweet spot,” he said.
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