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Soaktober in the Okanagan Valley

Rain falls on a vineyard overlooking Skaha Lake.
October 28, 2016 - 1:00 PM

OKANAGAN - It feels like it’s been raining for months here in our usually sunny Okanagan Valley. Those gorgeous fall colours have been viewed through the blurred lenses of windshield wipers, and the crisp, sunny sweater-weather days have hidden behind the low clouds; surely it must be a record for rainfall this year.

Well, the news is not quite as dire as it may seem for the Kelowna and Penticton areas. According to Environment Canada’s historical records, this month is coming in only slightly above the average for precipitation.

Kelowna has soaked up 50 millimetres of rain thus far in October, falling far short of the record breaking 64 mm in 2012. Penticton has seen 42 mm so far — a drop in the bucket compared with the 85 mm that soaked the city in 2012.

It’s a different story in Vernon, however. The higher-than-normal puddle splashing is, in fact, just that. Vernon’s October average is already pushing 56 mm and the month is not over yet. It’s unlikely to top the 70 mm record reached in 2009, but it’s undeniably wet this year.

While we may not be overflowing at any record levels, this year’s rainfall has been more consistent than usual. In years past, welcome stretches of bright, brisk days have broken up the wetter weather. This year, however, we’ve exceeded the average of days of precipitation. More than 14 days of showers have drenched our valley, and the current forecast ensures that number will grow. Historical data shows that we usually see only 11 to 13 wet days in October.

The influx of Okanagan newcomers from the Coast might be unfazed by this damp season, but long time locals have gotten used to the the picture-perfect — and dry — Octobers of late. The valleywide rainfall average in 2013 was a remarkable 13 mm. Last year, only 10 dreary days interrupted the sunshine. With seasons like that, it’s easy to forget that autumn usually does usher in a dose of drizzle.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Abbey Westbury or call 250-491-0331 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
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