Wednesday July 23, 2014





Key to winter forecast is 'normal'

'It's unlikely your snowbrushes and shovels will have a chance to collect dust'
Keith Anderson

Bradford McArthur hitches a ride to Sun Peaks ski resort Monday next to the Summit Drive highway on-ramp. The sunny weather and mild conditions were calling McArthur to the hills.

If grey weather, consumer debt and the fiscal cliff have got you down, look at the bright side — winter is just three weeks away.

And winter, according to Environment Canada's long-range forecast released on Monday, is expected to be "normal."

Along with his monthly weather summary for November – which was warmer and somewhat drier than normal — local meteorologist Jim Steele gave Environment Canada's three-month outlook.

"The one word at the top was 'normal'," Steele said.

That means normal precipitation and normal temperatures, conditions typical of recent Kamloops winters. The chances that it will be warmer than normal are estimated to be 40 to 49 per cent whereas the chances it will be colder are just 10 to 19 per cent.

But normal doesn't necessarily mean moderate. In other words, winter will bring periods of warmer and colder weather.

"There will be cold stuff and it will be a shocker if winter doesn't arrive," Steele said.

The El Nino factor, the deep ocean current that was earlier expected to bring harsh winter weather to North America, has subsided, Steele said.

Environment Canada's outlook is consistent with seasonal forecasts provided by other sources.

The time-tested Farmer's Almanac suggests winter temperatures will be slightly above normal on average with the coldest periods in mid-December — along with the heaviest snowfall — mid- to late January and early February. Precipitation is supposed to be slightly below normal in southern B.C. and above normal in the north.

A more contemporary source, the Weather Network, uses that same word again — normal. The network's director of meteorology, Chris Scott, said recently that winter in Western Canada won't be brutal but will be more, well, winter-like than last year.

"Last winter's tame conditions were unusual; whereas this year it's unlikely your snowbrushes and shovels will have a chance to collect dust," Scott said.

Meanwhile, a mild southwesterly flow has given Kamloops an extension of mostly mild fall weather through November, Steele reported.

The average daily high of 7.1 C was above the normal of 5.2. Total precipitation was 20.7 milimetres or 86 per cent of normal. Most of the snow fell on one day, Nov. 12.

The pattern has been fairly consistent. Mean temperature for September to November was 10 C, above the normal of 8.5 and close to the warmest fall mean temperature of 10.6 in 1998.


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