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Mild December in Okanagan, Kamloops perfect for getting outside during pandemic

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
January 04, 2021 - 1:30 PM

December weather turned out to be well suited to the needs of Kamloops and Okanagan residents looking to get outdoors after hunkering down due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist says December 2020 was warmer and wetter everywhere, but no records were challenged.

“It was an incredible December, easy on us. We deserve it. It was easy to get out in, and we had a bit of snow at the right time, around Christmas,” Lundquist says.

The region was able to avoid Arctic air for the entire month, with temperatures averaging 1.7 Celsius higher than normal in Penticton, 1.6 C higher in Kelowna, and 3.6 C higher than normal in Vernon through the month.

Kamloops also saw temperatures 3.4 C higher than average.

Precipitation wise, Penticton saw 30 per cent more moisture than normal, with 37 mm falling compared to the average of 29 mm for December.

Kelowna was also up at 38 mm versus 33 mm, while Vernon saw 59 mm compared to the 49 mm that usually comes down in December.

Kamloops had 37 mm compared to the city’s normal 25 mm.

Lundquist says December can be a highly variable month, depending on whether the region is under the influence of arctic air or not.

“None of the statistics were in the top 10,” Lundquist says.

"For the year as a whole, what stands out for me was the smoke events of September. We’ve had much smokier years recently, but that really bad event we had that affected air quality in the region for about a week was about as bad as it gets for poor air. If you delve into the numbers, that was a really dirty week for air quality,” he says.

But Lundquist also observes 2020 didn’t have much smoke through the summer.

“We lucked out. It could have been much worse, with the fire season they had to the south of us. We really dodged that bullet,” he says.

For the year as a whole, Kamloops was almost dead average when it came to temperature and precipitation. Vernon was slightly warmer last year with temperatures averaging one degree above normal.

Kelowna was 1.2 degrees warmer than average for the year, while Penticton was 0.1 degrees above average.

Precipitation numbers aren’t available for Penticton and Kelowna.

“It was a pretty average year, all in all, with not much in the way of major temperature or precipitation events. We did get some early snow in October before Halloween, and winter so far has been extraordinarily warm,” Lundquist says.

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