February was colder, snowier than normal

If you don’t ski, it was a good month to be in Mexico

Well, the ski hills certainly weren’t complaining last month.

For the third straight year, last February’s weather was colder and snowier than normal.

February 2019 was by far the coldest of the three with a near-record-breaking mean monthly temperature of -4.9 degrees. The only colder February on record was in 1989, with a mean monthly temperature of -5.1.

Forecasters at the Southeast Fire Centre released their summary of February’s weather late last week.

The initial two days of February were relatively mild as a Pacific system pushed across southern BC with periods of rain and a small amount of wet snow.

But by month’s end, snowfall was double the normal amount, with more than half a metre— 51.8 cm— falling over the four weeks.

And of course, it was cold last month. A modified Arctic airmass filtered west of Alberta and south of the central interior for a few flurries, increased wind and colder trending temperatures after the 3rd. Record minimums were hit on four days during the month, with the last week being particularly chilly.

A few Pacific systems pushed over the modified Arctic airmass for snow at times.

“No one day snowfall was overly heavy but the main storm cycle the night of the 11th through the morning of the 17th did result in 35.2 centimetres of snow,” forecasters say.

The frequent influx of the modified Arctic airmass also resulted in a record maximum mean wind speed for February of 11.6 km/hr. That’s just slightly greater than the average wind speed of 11.5 km/hr during February 1990.

Is it over? It may well be. Forecasters see a warming trend after this week as the stronger March sun heats things up. But skiers will still be enjoying the fruits of last month’s heavy dose of winter for weeks to come.

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