October normal but snowy winter ahead

October was a fairly typical month in terms of weather in the West Kootenay.

October was a fairly typical month in terms of weather in the West Kootenay, with precipitation levels slightly below the norm and the mean temperature slightly above usual.

The mean temperature of 8.2 C recorded at the Castlegar Airport was  .3 degrees warmer than usual, according to forecaster Ron Lakeman at the Southeast Fire Centre.

The high temperature for the month of 24.9 C was reached on Oct. 3 and the low of –4.4 on Oct. 26.

The high was a record for that date but well below the record high for the month of 27.2 C set in 1980.

The 42 millimeters of rain was 87 per cent of normal, while there was no snow recorded. Typically, there are a couple centimeters of snow fall at the Castlegar Airport in October.

The coming winter is shaping up to be another snowy one, La Nina currents in the Pacific Ocean are expected to depress temperatures just enough to ensure that much of usual the winter rainfall in the valley bottoms comes down as snow instead, Lakeman indicated

“It doesn’t take much. A one-degree drop in the temperature can make quite a difference.”

As was the case with the last winter, the La Nina effect is not expected to kick until after Christmas.

Last winter really got going in February, which was drier than normal but cooler temperatures meant there wasn’t much rain. In March, precipitation at the Castlegar Airport was recorded almost every day and the snowfall was double the usual amount.

Cooler than normal temperatures throughout the rest of the spring meant snow packs at higher elevations continued to build much later into the season.

La Nina weather is the result of colder than usual surface temperatures in the eastern equatorial waters of the Pacific Ocean. El Nino is the opposite, with Pacific temperatures rising in the eastern Pacific off of South America.

The weather records for the Castlegar Airport go back to 1966.