Fresh snow tonight in Okanagan will turn to slush as mercury rises this New Year's long weekend | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Fresh snow tonight in Okanagan will turn to slush as mercury rises this New Year's long weekend

More snow is forecast to fall in the Okanagan tonight, Dec. 31, 2020 before temperatures begin to rise and it turns to slush.
December 31, 2020 - 11:49 AM

Get ready for the big melt of 2021 as a weather system from the Pacific brings mild temperatures, and melting, to the Okanagan.

There’s not much sign yet of a severe winter in the Okanagan with some daily highs several degrees above normal expected to start January and the New Year.

Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan says a “parade of storms” incoming from the Pacific Ocean has pretty much “turned off” the province’s high pressure ridge, resulting in warmer than normal conditions for the entire province.

He says other than for some modified Arctic air experienced in October, the Okanagan continues to see a delayed start to real winter conditions.

Castellan says snow tonight, Dec. 31, will be followed by more active conditions, but warmer air and showers will likely continue into the first week of January.

For tonight, New Year’s Eve, Vernon and Kelowna should prepare for five centimetres of snow overnight tonight and up to two cm more tomorrow before temperatures start to rise with the beginning of the new year.

Penticton is expected to see two to four cm tonight before the snow turns to rain early tomorrow afternoon.

Vernon and Kelowna could also see some gusty south winds at 30 km/h gusting to 50 tomorrow, New Years Day.

It could be even breezier in Penticton, with a forecast for south winds at 50 km/h gusting to 70.

The Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt could see 10 cm tonight and another 10 cm tomorrow, with the Okanagan Connector picking up five cm tonight and another five cm tomorrow.

The Coquihalla Highway between Merritt and Kamloops could see lesser amounts.

Saturday and Sunday should see highs of 2 Celsius in Vernon and Kelowna, along with a 60 per cent chance of showers throughout the weekend.

Penticton could reach a balmy 5 C tomorrow, with highs of 2 C and 4 C expected on Saturday and Sunday, along with a 60 per cent chance of showers throughout the weekend.

Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton normally see highs of -2 C and lows of -8 C for early January.

A series of Pacific frontal systems moving into the B.C. Interior are expected to bring warm temperatures and showers to the Okanagan through the first week of 2021.

The forecast so far contradicts the long term winter forecast for the Okanagan, which called for a colder and snowier than normal winter.

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