Temperate winter has divided the Okanagan into rainy south, snowy north | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Temperate winter has divided the Okanagan into rainy south, snowy north

It's been a snowier winter in the north end of the Okanagan Valley this winter as the City of Vernon has dealt with twice the number of weather related road events than the City of Penticton, 113 km to the south.
January 31, 2020 - 5:30 PM

What a difference a few kilometres can make.

The City of Vernon is finding that out during this year’s winter season, as Okanagan Valley municipalities have dealt with a number of weather events that have coincided with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark. That has resulted in rain falling in some of these weather events in the south end of the valley, while snow fell further north.

City of Vernon communications manager Christy Poirer says from November 2019 to the last week of January 2020, City maintenance crews have responded to the following weather related road maintenance events in the city:

  • one ice event
  • 12 minor events (classified as1 to 3 cm of snow)
  • 10 moderate events (three to 15 cm of snow)
  • 1 major event (15 cm plus)

The City has responded to a total of 24 events to date.

Compare that to the City of Penticton, located 113 kilometres to the south.

City of Penticton roads and drainage supervisor Daniel Hutchins says the City responded to four weather related road events to the end of December 2019, and another eight events through the fourth week of January 2020, for a total of 12 events.

Hutchins says two of those events were major snowfalls of 20 and 30 cm but those numbers need some explanation.

“Penticton is kind of special, in that we measured 20 cm of snow at up at the Evergreen reservoir, (several hundred feet above the valley floor) but downtown there was maybe four or five cm. The rest was rain,” he says.

Hutchins says the City has taken a proactive tack this year by applying a brine de-icer and as a result has not had to plow streets following lighter snowfalls.

He says much of the snow that has fallen in the valley so far this winter has ended roughly around Kelowna, where it has turned to rain further south.

Hutchins is hopeful the City of Penticton’s snow removal costs will come in under budget this year.

“The bulk of our snow is usually in January. By February, it’s turning milder, so if the present trends continue, we should come under budget,” he says.

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