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Blast of arctic air expected this weekend in the Okanagan

Get out the toques as an arctic front moves into the Okanagan this weekend.
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
January 31, 2019 - 11:23 AM

KELOWNA - It's the Okanagan's turn for some cold weather as an arctic front is expected to cause temperatures to tumble this weekend.

Environment Canada meteorologist Bobby Sekhon says arctic air is forecast to push into the Southern Interior Saturday night dropping temperatures and bringing snow into the Okanagan.

Sekhon says the arctic front is not as intense as the long wave pattern or polar vortex affecting the rest of the nation where the deep freeze has drawn The Weather Network to make comparisons to temperatures on Mars. In Canada’s largest city, the Toronto Transit Commission suspended train service today, Jan. 30, on one of the city's subway lines after fighting a losing battle to clear the line of snow in brutally cold conditions.

“We’re going to see cold arctic air, but more in form of an arctic front. It will be somewhat similar, but not as extreme,” he says.

A front coming through the Okanagan today, Jan. 31, will be followed by another this evening bringing a chance of flurries through the day and more precipitation this evening.

Most of the valley can expect a high of 1 Celsius under mostly cloudy skies. Snow is expected to begin tonight with two to four centimetres forecast to fall in Kelowna and Vernon. Sekhon says temperatures are expected to hover around the freezing mark, which will determine if the precipitation falls as snow or rain up and down the valley.

A mix of rain and snow is expected to leave another two to four cm on the ground in the North Okanagan tomorrow with a high of 2 C and an overnight low of -3 C. The South Okanagan will likely see showers.

On Saturday the skies should clear with a high of 4 C and an overnight low reaching -8 C.

More snow is expected Sunday plus it could be windy with a high of -6 C. The snow is expected to continue overnight with a low of -11 C. Between five and 10 cm could fall in the Okanagan on Sunday.

Sekhon says the cold temperatures are expected to last into next week with the coldest temperatures experienced Monday through Wednesday.

The first real cold blast of the season comes on the heels of what was a warmer and drier than normal January for the North and Central Okanagan.

Sekhon says unofficial statistics for January indicate Penticton was close to normal for temperature and precipitation but it was a warmer and drier month in the Kelowna and Vernon.

A record high temperature was set on Jan. 4 for both Kelowna and Penticton, when daytime highs reached 10.3 C in Kelowna, beating the previous record high of 8.4 C set in 2003. In Penticton, the Jan. 4 high of 9 C beat the previous high for that day of 8.5 C set in 1984.

The cold conditions will continue into next week with Monday’s anticipated high of -8 C under a mix of sun and cloud. Monday night’s low of -14 C would be 7 degrees below normal for this time of year.

“It’s time to get out heavy winter clothing and take steps to ensure your plumbing doesn’t freeze,” Sekhon advises.

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