Cool and wet spring in the forecast

'It seems like a lot of rain because in February we had one millimetre'

The snow, slush and cold air that greeted residents Tuesday morning isn't going anywhere anytime soon as Environment Canada predicts a cool and wet spring ahead.

Meteorologist Jim Steele, giving one of his last forecasts before he retires on Friday, said March through May will be cooler than normal with an average amount of precipitation.

"Let's hope it's not as cool as last spring," Steele said Tuesday.

The mean temperature for the three months is about 8.9 C with an average of 51 millimetres of precipitation.

More rain - about 14 to 15 mm - has already fallen this month, while the normal accumulation for all of March is 12 mm, said Steele.

"We've seen some wet days," he said. "It seems like a lot of rain because in February we had one millimetre. That's it. It was a record dry February."

A repeat of last spring would see a mean temperature of 10 C and about 90-per-cent precipitation. As a whole, the weather was colder than normal, but a few hot days can skew the records, said Steele.

"Over a three-month period, putting a mean temperature together is tough," he said. "There's going to be some periods where we're going to be very nice this spring, no question about it."

The last three or four days is a prime example, said Steele. The weekend was warm, with sunny skies and temperatures in the teens.

Then came Tuesday and residents awoke to snow and rain. Temperatures struggled to reach anywhere near the forecast 10 C and Steele said between five and 10 centimetres of snow came down in some areas.

About 10 cm of snow landed on the Coquihalla Highway between Merritt and Kamloops, said Bob Gilowski, vice-president of VSA Highway Maintenance but no significant weather is expected through the mountain pass during the next 36 hours.

Winter can strike at any time, however, so drivers need to prepare for anything, said Gilowski.

The heaviest snowfall on Tuesday fell east of Kamloops. Steele said the Trans-Canada Highway through Sorrento was just "two tracks in the snow."

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