At first glance, Darryl Luscombe’s photo looks like a Jackson Pollack painting. The picture it actually paints, is the heavy snowfall on March 24, and just how hard it was to make out the trees from the snow. Luscombe took this shot looking up towards the Rossland road just above the Bocce Pit in West Trail. (Darryl Luscombe photo)

At first glance, Darryl Luscombe’s photo looks like a Jackson Pollack painting. The picture it actually paints, is the heavy snowfall on March 24, and just how hard it was to make out the trees from the snow. Luscombe took this shot looking up towards the Rossland road just above the Bocce Pit in West Trail. (Darryl Luscombe photo)

West Kootenay snowfall ‘fifth greatest on record’

Jesse Ellis, forecaster at the Southeast Fire Centre, wraps up March weather stats

A very cold March brought twice the amount of snow than usual for this time of year.

Precipitation as a whole was normal, but 31 centimetres (cm) of snowfall recroded was more than double the usual 13 cm for March.

“The large scale pattern alternated between a broad upper trough and a cool northwesterly flow during the majority of the month,” forecaster Jesse Ellis, from Castlegar’s Southeast Fire Centre, explained in his month-end report.

“Resulting in lower than normal temperatures and a greater fraction of the month’s precipitation falling as snow.”

The most significant storm passed through the area the night of March 7 and brought 11 cm of snow, which turned to another 7 cm of rain by the following afternoon.

The next largest single-day snowfall event produced 7 cm of snow on March 24.

The coldest day of the month was March 10, when the mercury dipped to -7.7 C.

“High pressure helped bring clear skies above the ridge tops and extensive low cloud and fog failed to develop below,” Ellis explained. “This falls well short of the record low of -16.5 degrees set in 2009. “

Sunny skies and a well-mixed atmosphere brought the warmest day of the month, 15 C, on Good Friday.

However, that temperature also fell short of the record high, which was 23.1 degrees from 2004.

As of the end of March, the Castlegar office recorded a total of 309 cm of snowfall this winter.

This is the most that has been seen in the area since the winter of 1996/97 when 450 cm fell, Ellis noted.

“And this is the fifth greatest amount on record.”

The highest amount of snowfall still remains 490.5 cm from the winter of 1969.