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Mild December weather sees as much rain as snow

·1 min read

Santa may have made it to the West Kootenays last month, but the weather he’s associated with was a lot more begrudging.

Weather forecasters at the Southeast Fire Centre say the last month of 2020 was a lot warmer and rainier than normal.

“Temperatures held above-seasonal normals throughout most of December,” said fire forecaster Jesse Ellis. “The large-scale pattern was initially dominated by a mild and dry area of high pressure that transitioned to a more active pattern with a series of Pacific frontal systems in a mild westerly flow.”

Two daily temperature records were set: +6.4°C on December 19 broke a 54-year-old record, while a 9°C temperature on December 20 broke a 2004 record by several degrees. A record high temperature for the month of 11.6°C, set in 1980, still stands.

And because it was warmer, there was a lot more rain than snow falling from the sky.

“The melted water equivalent of snowfall totals is usually more than double what we get in the form of rain (64.8mm water equivalent of snow vs. 31.3mm rain),” says Ellis. “This month, total rainfall and melted water equivalent of total snowfall were almost the same (38.6 snow vs. 37.0 rain).”

That pushed rainfall totals to 118% of normal, while snowfall was at about 60% of usual. It was overall drier than usual too, with only 79% of the usual precipitation falling.

The warmer trend continued into the first half of January, as temperatures remained above 0 for the first 10 days of the month.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice