Much dryer, a little cooler: February saw half the normal precipitation, says SEFC

Precipitation in the form of rain was a rare thing in February

With less than half the normal precipitation, February’s weather saw the buildup of snow in the West Kootenay’s high country slow a little.

The region received less than half the normal amount of total monthly precipitation in February, says a summary from the Southeast Fire Centre.

And what was really unusual was that the precipitation falling as rain — about 90 per cent less than normal.

“Usually at this time of year we see a period of warm, moist south-westerly flow coming into the region, and February is the first winter month where we usually see more rain than snow,” says Jesse Ellis, a weather forecaster with the SEFC.

Instead, Ellis says during the month, the large-scale weather pattern frequently alternated between a ridge of high pressure and a relatively dry northwesterly flow aloft.

“The fact the dry northwesterly flow dominated through much of the month meant we didn’t have any significant events with nice, moist south or southwest flow,” he says. “And that’s where we usually pick up the more normal rainfall totals.”

Precipitation in total was about 42 per cent of normal. The month’s total snowfall (23.4cm) came to within 10 per cent of normal, while total rainfall (3.0mm) was 89 per cent below average, or, only 11 per cent of normal.”

SEE: West Kootenay snowpack reaching record levels

Other than the lack of precipitation, there wasn’t much else different about the month.

The mean monthly temperature of +0.2 was slightly above the average value of -0.1.

One odd fact: the warmest temperature of the month happened on Feb. 1. The new daily maximum temperature record of +10.8 was set on that day.

“We usually see the warmest temperatures at the end of the month,” he says, noting the high temperature is a result of atmospheric mixing that occurs after a cold front moves through an area.

“Had this [temperature] occurred the day before, on Jan. 31, it would have set a new monthly record,” says Ellis. “But since it happened on the first of February, it came up 3.5 degrees short of the monthly record of 14.3 set on the 28th in 2010.”

While big dumps of snow are still a definite possibility, spring has definitely sprung, he says.

“As we come into March we are turning the corner where the frontal systems are bringing more rain than snow,” says Ellis.



reporter@rosslandnews.com

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