Back on track – for now

After three months of overly warm weather, winter has arrived – at least for now.

After three months of overly warm weather, winter has arrived – at least for now.

“Never trust a northwesterly flow,” said Environment Canada warning preparedness meteorologist Doug Lundquist Monday. “That’s what gave us the snow Sunday… with more coming.”

Lundquist says from a meteorology perspective, they are difficult to forecast because they are usually unsettled, so the weather can be quite variable.

For example, he says he left Kelowna, which was dry Monday and travelled to  Kamloops, normally the drier area that had snow.

“These aren’t normally large systems; they’re somewhat weaker, but can give an intense amount of snow in a relatively short time,” says Lundquist.

Temperatures in the Shuswap just returned to normal on the weekend, having been a little more than two degrees above normal for the past 90 days.

“We had an unusually warm flow pattern out of the southwest,” he says. “And the dry belt from Kamloops to Merritt was dryer than normal and the Shuswap wetter than average.”

Lundquist said that terrain above 1,200 metres has been getting decent snow but lower altitudes have just begun acquiring the white mantle.

And it looks like more snow is on its way for the next week to 10 days.

“This is a fairly normal pattern, which means snow will start to accumulate in the lower elevations,” says Lundquist, who says that long range forecasts indicate a 60 per cent chance of higher than normal temperatures in the new year. “This favours rain more than snow in the valley bottoms.”

While the weather can sometimes be hard to read, Lundquist emphasizes the importance of creating and using forecasting when planning trips.

“We want travellers to realize in Canada winter weather hurts or kills more people than any other weather throughout the rest of the year,” he says. “So by looking at Environment Canada’s forecasts and warnings, and checking road conditions through Drive BC and planning and taking time we can save lives.”