March was dry as a bone in Thompson-Okanagan, especially in Kelowna | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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March was dry as a bone in Thompson-Okanagan, especially in Kelowna

March was the driest on record for Kelowna, in a month that was dry throughout the Thompson-Okanagan.
April 01, 2021 - 2:30 PM

Kamloops and the Okanagan were very dry last month, but in Kelowna it was especially parched.

Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist says Kelowna set a record for driest March ever, with only three millimetres of rain, compared to the 22 mm that normally falls.

Vernon finished the month with its second driest ever March, with only two mm of rain compared to the normal 25 mm.

“Kelowna was about 12 per cent of normal, Vernon about seven per cent,” Lundquist says.

Penticton finished the month as fourth driest, with only 20 per cent of normal precipitation at five mm, compared to the 24 mm that normally falls.

Kamloops had one mm of precipitation compared to the March normal of 13 mm, but even that low amount failed to put the city in the top five for driest March.

Temperatures didn’t stray too far from normals last month.

“Temperature-wise, it ranged from near average in Penticton at 0.1 degree above average, to above average in Vernon where it was 1.3 degrees above normal. Kelowna was 0.4 degrees above normal and Kamloops was 0.6 degrees above normal,” Lundquist says.

The higher temperatures noted in Vernon and the North Okanagan may be attributable to a much-diminished low elevation snowpack experienced this March, Lundquist says.

The long-range forecast is predicting a cool April followed by a warmer May, which has the implication of a delayed spring freshet.

“The dryness gives me some concern for the spring melt and wildfire season. We usually don’t get the rain until May, but right now the ground is dry," Lundquist says. "For the short term, I think it’s going to remain on the dry side.”

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