Dreams of a white Christmas in Kamloops, Okanagan are likely to be just that

FILE PHOTO - Kamloops and Okanagan residents hoping for a Christmas street scene like this one in Penticton three years ago may be out of luck this year as weather experts say the odds are stacked against the prospect of a white Christmas.

PENTICTON - It’s still a ways off in terms of weather forecasting, but meteorologists willing to offer a prediction are saying Kamloops and Okanagan will likely have a green Christmas this year.

Accuweather senior meteorologist Brett Anderson says “things could change” but he’s predicting a 30 per cent chance of a white Christmas for the Thompson-Okanagan this year.

Anderson says the weather pattern for the next two weeks is expected to be wet and stormy with a number of Pacific frontal systems coming through, but the cold arctic air should stay to the north, leaving snow at higher elevations. He says at this point the warm, wet weather pattern appears to be with us until the second week of January 2019.

Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan echoes the Accuweather prediction.

Castellan says the current trend of above seasonally normal temperatures and stormy weather will be with us until just before Christmas, with a drier trend and an easing into more seasonal temperatures to follow.

“It’s not easy to ascertain,” Castellan says of predictions for a white or green Christmas. A slight change in temperature just before Christmas could bring a layer of snow rather than rain, but he says this year “the deck is stacked against it being a white Christmas."

A "perfect white Christmas" is defined by Environment Canada as one in which there is at least two centimetres of snow on the ground, with snow falling at some time during the day. A "white Christmas" is one in which there is at least two cm on the ground.

Castellan says Kamloops has a “perfect Christmas,” where there’s snow on the ground and snow falling on Christmas Day, 25 per cent of the time. The city has a white Christmas, which means just snow on the ground, 50 per cent of the time.

There is no white Christmas data available for Vernon, but Kelowna experiences a perfect white Christmas 26 per cent of the time, and a white Christmas 63 per cent of the time. Vernon, which is slightly cooler, would probably experience numbers a few percentage points higher than Kelowna's.

In Penticton the chances are even less, with that city experiencing a "perfect Christmas” only 11 per cent of the time and a white Christmas only 32 per cent of the time.

The records date back to 1955.


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