Precipitation total keeps climbing for West Kootenays

With one month left in 2012, this could be the wettest year on record after another 162.9mm of precipitation fell in November.

When it rains it pours in the West Kootenay.

With one month left to go in 2012, the West Kootenay is contemplating a new name change to the Wet Kootenay based on its current performance.

Buoyed by another record month of precipitation in November—175 per cent of normal—the latest statistics from the Southeast Fire Centre show 2012 could become the wettest year on record after another 162.9 millimetres of precipitation fell in the last month.

Meteorologist Ron Lakeman at the fire centre said numerous Pacific disturbances have produced frequent and at times heavy precipitation, making last November the wettest November since 1984.

But heavy precipitation is not a signal of a coming physical transformation of the Earth, as interpreted by those who mark Dec. 21, 2012—the end of the Mesoamerican long count calendar—as a pivotal time.

Instead, the storm cycle has brought exceedingly large amounts of precipitation to the region this year, said Lakeman, it’s just a little unique to get it all in one calendar year.

“The only thing that has any relevance as far as the calendar year is we had a La Niña last winter and it typically does produce cool, wet conditions in the spring,” he said.

“That, to a certain degree explains what happened in spring. As far as why we were so wet in (fall), it’s tough to say. Weather patterns change on a frequent basis and this just happens to be what we have at the moment.”

He predicted more rain in the picture for the week, bringing the total precipitation to around 30 mm., with another 20 mm. needed to break the annual record. Normal precipitation for the year is around 755 mm.—and at the end of November 980 mm. has fallen, 50 mm. short of the record from 1976.

There is some debate as to whether 2012 might break the record, said Lakeman, since a cooler weather pattern will be setting up later in the week, bringing with it a dryer northerly flow with less moisture content.

For those looking for snow, the rain will turn to snow by Friday. It doesn’t look like a lot of snow, said Lakeman, but the air will be cooler to facilitate the production of snow.  And with around 140 centimetres nestled nicely on the backcountry slopes of Kootenay Pass, there is no fear of local slopes not being open when Red Mountain opens their runs on Dec. 8.

“It is accumulating nicely at the upper elevations,” Lakeman said.

“We have just been on the mild side in the lower areas. All of the heavy precipitation down here has done nothing but keep the grass green.”

For those who are looking to the Mayan calendar fearfully and planning for the polar shift on Dec. 21, Lakeman did not have a prediction for the day.

“I have no vibe yet to anything linked in that sense,” he said. “But it’s a unique pattern and there is no getting around that.”