2019 was drier than normal in Kamloops and the Okanagan despite wet December | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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2019 was drier than normal in Kamloops and the Okanagan despite wet December

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January 03, 2020 - 2:30 PM

While 2019 didn't see record-setting weather in the Okanagan and Kamloops, there were some highly variable weather patterns which ended on a damp note in December although the year was drier than normal.

Environment Canada meteorologist Bobby Sekhon says December was notable for being wet and warm.

"Vernon stands out as fifth wettest on record since 1903," Sekhon says. "The city had 89 per cent more than average monthly precipitation for December... A couple of systems clipped Vernon."

Kelowna had about 50 per cent more precipitation than the month average.

The South Okanagan wasn't quite as damp last month with 31.8 mm of precipitation compared to the normal 28.6 mm for December.

"Kamloops was actually drier than normal for the month with 16.7 mm of precipitation compared to the normal amount of 25.4 mm, down about 34 per cent," he says.

In terms of temperature, December was warmer than normal in Vernon by 2.9 Celsius and Kamloops was 2.3 C degrees warmer than normal. Penticton was warmer than normal by 1.8 C and Kelowna by 1.9 C.

The major weather events in the Thompson-Okanagan in 2019 included a cold February that is on record as Kamloops’s fifth coldest. It was followed by one of the warmest months of May in Kamloops on record.

A wet July brought precipitation at just the right time to keep the summer’s wildfire season at bay,” Sekhon says, adding it wasn’t all good news as Okanagan cherry growers suffered losses due to the excess moisture.

September was wet too, delaying the grape harvest for many Okanagan growers.

A cold front that passed over Kamloops on Oct. 25 produced an exceptionally powerful wind gust recorded at 90 km/h.

Finally in 2019, Dec. 19 to 21 brought excessive snow to Interior highway passes that made Christmas travel very difficult.

“It was an up and down year with some extreme swings. There were no earth-shattering records but even with the wet periods, the year finished with 75 to 90 per cent of normal precipitation for Kamloops and the Okanagan,” Sekhon says.

“There weren’t any big differences in temperatures in 2019, with Kamloops finishing the year a half degree cooler than normal and Penticton 0.6 C cooler than normal. However, it was 0.4 C above normal in Vernon and 0.6 C warmer in Kelowna.”

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