Warmest March in 50 years

Sunny skies during the first two weeks of March led to four new daily highs and the mildest March on record in 50 years.

Sunny skies during the first two weeks of March led to four new daily highs and the mildest March on record since local weather tracking began 50 years ago.

This year’s El Niño phenomenon ushered in unseasonably warm conditions and set record daily maximums of 17 C, 19 C, 20.1 C, and 17 C on March 8 through March 11 respectively, according to the Castlegar weather service’s month-end report.

Those temperatures upped March’s daily average temperature to 6.8 C, from the normal 4.4 C.

The previous mildest March was 1992.

The warm and dry days had municipalities sweeping winter grit away earlier than usual, but forced Red Mountain Resort and other B.C. ski hills to reduce operations.

That’s because from Feb. 13 to March 13, only 0.2 millimetres (mm) of rain was recorded in the area. By the night of March 13, a pacific system hit the West Kootenay region and ended the drought with heavy precipitation.

Ten centimetres of wet snow and 20 mm of rain drenched the valleys by March 15, though snow largely melted on contact in the low lying areas. That led to overall precipitation being slightly higher, 83 mm, than the typical 63 mm.