The first day of winter is today but as of Thursday afternoon, and despite the Christmas decorations, Jubilee Park looked more spring-like than wintry. (Guy Bertrand photo)

El Niño spoiling dreams of a white Christmas in Trail

It’s beginning to look a lot like spring this Friday December 21, the first official day of winter

On this first day winter, it’s looking very green down low and white up high.

Related story: Christmas kettles are ringing in Trail

As predicted, El Niño has ushered in an unusually warm December with rain and slush in the valley and snow at the higher elevations.

However, looking closer to Christmas Day, forecaster Ron Lakeman says there could be a blanket of white in the Silver City.

“We do show a chance of flurries with systems coming in on Saturday night or Sunday,” Lakeman said mid-week. “The problem is the temperature, it is unseasonably warm right now,” he continued.

“But there is a hint of something that will be a touch cooler than we are currently at, so that’s optimistic (for) snow versus rain.”

The normal temperature in December is – 1 C. This year there’s been little freezing with temperatures ranging anywhere from plus 3 to plus 5, says Lakeman.

This is a much different scenario than the last two winters, which were on the cooler side of normal due to the influence of a weather phenom known as La Niña.

“And that (brought) amounts of snow in the valleys that were greater than normal,” Lakeman explained. “So the ski community took that to being what normal is. So this being El Niño, it will be milder, there will be more rain and wet snow.

“The skiing season won’t be as good, and then spring will come early in the valley.”

Thursday morning Environment Canada issued a weather warning for commuters on Highway 3 from the Paulson Summit to the Kootenay Pass.

Snowfall amounts of 20 to 30 centimetres were expected by this morning. (Friday)

After the region’s big snowfall earlier this week, Sgt. Mike Wicentowich is reminding motorists to drive for conditions even at the lower elevations.

“The Trail and Greater District RCMP Detachment responded to a number of single vehicle accidents during our first serious snowfall,” he said Wednesday. “Please slow down, have good winter tires, ensure your vehicle is mechanically sound and reliable, have emergency equipment and supplies in your vehicle, and a cell phone if travelling in winter conditions.”

Snow or no snow, the Greater Trail RCMP will continue to have more presence on local highways for the next few weeks.

“There will be more police officers out on the road conducting pro-active roadblocks and traffic stops,” Wicentowich said. “Looking for impaired driving, distracted driving, seat belts, speeding, and other offences throughout December 2018 in Trail, Warfield, Rossland, Fruitvale, and Montrose.”

The RCMP remains committed to keeping roadways safe throughout the holidays so everyone can enjoy theirs, he added.

“Please be vigilant this holiday season and report anyone you may suspect of drinking and driving to the Trail and Greater District RCMP Detachment at (250) 364-2566.”

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