Warm, dry weather that persisted through most of summer is forecast to prevail for the next couple of weeks.
While conditions fall short of what might be classified as a drought, the dry spell has led to extension of fire bans in the region and could spell trouble down the road for the cattle industry.
The only exception to the trend was a single day of rain. Total precipitation amounted to 7.8 millimetres or about 27 per cent of the norm of 28 mm. All of it fell on Sept. 10 in the form of heavy showers and hail. Normally, September brings measurable rainfall for eight days.
A single weather record was set on Sept. 4, when the overnight temperature was 16.7 C. The previous high-minimum record was 15.7, set in 1988.
The average daily high of 25.1 C was well above the normal of 22 C, while lows hovered near normal.
While only one record was set for September, Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist described the trend as “an incredible stretch of weather.”
Anyone who enjoyed a rain-free summer vacation would agree.
Lundquist said a cold front was moving into the region Monday but wasn’t expected to bring much rainfall.
“If we don’t get something in this cold front, it’s looking like another 10 days, maybe two weeks,” he said. “It is all part of the same pattern,” he added, noting that parts of the U.S. are enduring a drought of historic proportions.
In B.C.’s case, the prevailing pattern is caused by a tropical high that normally builds in from California. This season, however, the high is more persistent.
There is a 90 per cent chance that temperatures over the next two weeks will remain above normal.
“We’ll have to see how October comes out. Normally it’s one of the driest months in the southwestern Interior,” Lundquist said.
The cattle industry hasn’t been seriously affected at this point if only due to the unusually wet start to the summer in June and early July, said Kevin Boon, general manger of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association.
Some water supplies at higher elevations and on ranges have dried up, but the main concern for ranchers is the outlook for spring. Precipitation in fall can remain in the ground to support spring growth.
“It could have more of an impact on us next spring or fall,” Boon said.
A bigger worry for ranchers at this stage will be the prices paid at feedlots this fall, Boon said. The U.S. drought has strained supplies of corn and barley feed, which is expected to push up the cost of production for feedlots, pushing prices down.