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Cold, snowy ‘chaos’ over but lots of winter still to go in the Okanagan, expert says

Don’t count out another cold snap in the region, despite early January forecast: Environment Canada
An unexpected flurry of snow briefly graced the 500-block of Penticton’s Main Street on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. (Brennan Phillips/Western News)

Environment Canada says a warmer-than-normal beginning of January will make December’s “chaos” in the Okanagan feel like a distant memory, but it’s not time to put away the heavy coats for the season just yet though.

Temperatures in Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton will be above seasonal for the first half of the month, with daily highs reaching up to 2 C by the end of this weekend. Although flurries and below-zero temperatures remain in the forecast for the next 10 days, meteorologists aren’t expecting “anything significant.”

“The week leading up to Christmas was pretty active in terms of lots of storm systems coming through but right now we’re in a more quiet pattern,” said Alyssa Charbonneau, a meteorologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada. “Certainly, things have quieted down…even when we’re expecting flurries, it’s not looking overly heavy for B.C.’s Southern Interior.”

READ ALSO: Penticton, Summerland set daily low-temperature records

Charbonneau says Penticton averages a daily high of -2 C and low of -7 C during the first week of January, with all-time numbers similar in Kelowna and Vernon during the same time of year.

In 2023, though, meteorologists are predicting daily highs to stay above zero starting on Jan. 7, through to the middle of the month.

“But by the time we get to the end of January, there’s nothing to say that we can’t end up with very cold temperatures again,” Charbonneau said. “It doesn’t look like we’ll have that cold, arctic outbreak in the next 10 days but there’s still a lot of months to go before spring and it’s still possible for those cold temperatures to return.”

Dozens of extreme cold and snowfall records were set across B.C. starting on Dec. 20 and 21, with delays on the roadways, ferry terminals and airport tarmacs extended through Christmas and Boxing Day.

“What we’ve been seeing so far is that the start of January will be much more quiet than what happened leading up to that Christmas weekend,” Charbonneau said.

READ ALSO: Penticton shatters daily snowfall record with most ever since 1907


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