(Jim Bailey photo)

West Kootenay colder than usual for March

Just 65% of its average precipitation during the month

If you thought March in the West Kootenay was colder and drier than usual, you’re not alone.

BC Wildfire Service meteorologist Jesse Ellis, based in Castlegar, said the region was about one degree colder than average and received just 65 per cent of its average precipitation during the month.

January snowfall double the norm at Castlegar weather station

Ellis said wind direction was the main culprit behind the out-of-character weather.

“Our temperatures were below normal because we had a prevailing upper flow from the northwest. The northwesterly flows normally don’t bring as much precipitation to the region as a westerly or southwesterly flow.”

Ellis said the region also received unusual ratios of snow and rain during the month.

“Typically in March, most of our precipitation … comes as rain. However, this year we really lacked rain,” said Ellis. “However, we did pick up more than the average amount of snow.”

Just 46 per cent of the average amount of rainfall was recorded over 31 days.

A minimum temperature record of -5.6 C was set on the 17th day, beating the previous record of -5.7 C back in 1971.

Dry weather conditions will likely persist for the foreseeable future, as a modified Arctic air mass will start to push southward over southern B.C. this weekend and bring cooler temperatures to the region.

“Next week, we will also likely be back to a northwesterly flow … In that pattern, we should have little to no precipitation with temperatures at or slightly above seasonal averages.”


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