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‘On the wild side’: Meteorologist recaps the end of winter in the Okanagan

The region set heat records but also experienced ‘arctic air’ near the end of February
Kelowna set precipitation records for the day of Feb. 28, after joining the rest of the Okanagan in a “rollercoaster” weather month of February. (File)

One month ago, it seemed as though it was going to be a predictable end to winter in the Okanagan, with record-setting temperatures in February, however, that narrative changed in a hurry.

Environment Canada recognizes the start of spring on March 1, marking February as the final month of winter.

And after a season where both all-time high and low-temperature records were set across the region, one expert is calling the second month of this year no different from what people have been experiencing since the fall.

“There was an extreme of very warm temperatures and then a stretch of very cold temperatures,” said Derek Lee, a meteorologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada.

“For the beginning of February, the weather was pretty cooperative. And then towards the last week, we got some of that modified arctic air making its way back into the Okanagan.”

Lee added that the region rarely gets high levels of precipitation during February. Despite that, Kelowna still managed to set a record for rainfall on Feb. 28.

Warmer weather in the early portion of February, followed by well-below average temperatures balanced out the monthly statistics to what it would appear as “normal.”

How the Okanagan got to that point, however, isn’t going to show up in Environment Canada’s yearly summary book.

“The extremes balanced itself out,” Lee said.

“We have nice days and then cold days. The range of temperatures was much more on the wild side.”

Penticton, Vernon, Summerland and Salmon Arm all set all-time heat records for Feb. 7, just two weeks before each city would experience temperatures categorized as “well-below average.”

READ ALSO: ‘We’ve kicked the worst of winter’: Heat records set across the Okanagan on Monday

It’s officially springtime, according to Environment Canada, but that’s not stopping Lee from warning people about the typical seasonal trends that occur in B.C.’s Interior.

“Springtime is when it’s more volatile in B.C. and there’s more instability in general,” he said.

“It has that unstable air where we could see showers or even flurries, especially in the higher elevations. Spring is always that tricky season.”

READ MORE: Don’t put your winter gear away just yet, says Okanagan meteorologist


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About the Author: Logan Lockhart

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