January’s snow makes way for wet February

Warm air will be passing over head in Greater Trail bringing near or above seasonal temperatures and sunny skies.

With a warming trend and rain on the way this week, the local forecaster could be a little more in the know than Punxsutawney Phil and or Shubenacadie Sam.

With traditional fanfare, the famous American and Canadian groundhogs saw their shadows Monday morning, which means six more weeks of winter is on the way.

But according to Jesse Ellis from the Castlegar weather office, a coastal low pressure system surrounded by a southwesterly flow, means warm air will be passing over head in Greater Trail bringing near or above seasonal temperatures and sunny skies.

“Overnight on Wednesday we will see light precipitation,” he explained.

“Depending on how warm the temperatures get, it could be rain or light snow. At this point, I am leaning toward light rain.”

That transition will lead into a more active pattern of rain in the valley and a mid-level elevations Thursday and throughout the weekend, Ellis added.

A wet February follows a month that was drier and warmer than usual.

January began with a bang from an Arctic outbreak and the month’s lowest temperature, -12.4 C on Jan. 3.

That system set the stage for the month’s heaviest snow dump on Jan. 4, and a new record for total daily precipitation, or 24 millimetres (mm) of melted water equivalent, on that day.

However, the associated snow accumulation, 34.2 cm fell short of the record set for any one day in the month, noted Ellis.

That record remains with the great winter storm of 1969 when 43.7 cm of snow blanketed the area within a 24-hour period. People who were living in Trail 46 years ago may remember literally being snowed-in, and in the days following, city streets piled shockingly high with the white stuff.

“It’s possible that in 1969, on either side of that day, they also got a good schlack of snow,” explained Ellis. “Either that, or everyone was shorter back then” he joked, referring to historical photos from that year. “But that didn’t happen this year. Other than Jan. 4 there wasn’t a whole lot on either side of it.”

The month’s overall precipitation measured 57 mm compared to the typical 76 mm of combined rain and snow.

Jan. 31 was the warmest day, 6.5 C, which rounded out the first month of 2015 at more than one degree above the norm.