It was a warm and wet December 2018, but not particularly out of the ordinary for the last month of the year in southern B.C.
The forecasters at the Southeast Fire Centre (SEFC) have released their summary of last month’s weather, and it held few surprises.
“The mean monthly temperature was two degrees milder than normal. The total amount of precipitation was 100 per cent of normal,” said Ron Lakeman, a weather forecaster at the SEFC.
While the first eight days of December were dry and uneventful — an upper ridge of high pressure dominated — that didn’t last. The next 23 days saw measurable precipitation in 16 of them.
The most significant snowfall was 17 centimetres on Dec. 11, which is also the new record maximum amount of precipitation for that date. Even with the mild temperatures, the monthly snowfall was near normal.
Much has been made of the effect of El Nino on local weather patterns, but Lakeman said he wouldn’t commit to blaming the phenomenon for a mild December.
“It’s somewhat debatable. El Ninos usually have more relevance Christmas-onwards,” he said.
“It’s possible that’s what it was, but it could have been a coincidence. El Ninos typically have more influence in January, February and March, but some years they do start earlier. But yes, it was on the mild side.”
The mildest temperature during the month was 6.4 C during the night of the 20th. The coldest temperature was the early morning low of -9.7 C on Dec. 22.
The mean annual temperature during 2018 was 9.2 C, which is half a degree warmer than the average 8.7 C.
It’s not record-setting though.
The warmest year on record was 2015 with a mean temperature of 10.2 C. The 2018 total amount of precipitation was within one millimetre of the normal 751 millimetres. The wettest year on record is 2012 with 1,089.6 milimetres; the driest is 1985 with only 479.5 milimetres.