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Record-breaking cold set to break soon

Trish Foye of the Penticton and Area Cooperative Enterprise and other PACE members were on the job doing some sidewalk snow removal at Penticton Regional Hospital this week. Wednesday’s snowfall fell just shy of the record of just under 13 centimetres.  - Mark Brett/Western News
Trish Foye of the Penticton and Area Cooperative Enterprise and other PACE members were on the job doing some sidewalk snow removal at Penticton Regional Hospital this week. Wednesday’s snowfall fell just shy of the record of just under 13 centimetres.
— image credit: Mark Brett/Western News

Some long-standing cold-temperature records for the South Okanagan were put on ice Thursday.

Penticton bottomed out at -18.4 C, well under the previous record low of -16.1 C set in 1975, according to Environment Canada data.

However, meteorologist Doug Lundquist noted that record lows for several days previous ranged from -18 to -27 C, so it was a relatively easy mark to break.

“It’s kind of a one-off and we tend not to get too excited about these one-offs. If it’s a record several days in a row then it’s more significant,” he said.

But other parts of the region saw more definitive new benchmarks.

Osoyoos shattered its record of -8.8 C set in 1997 when the thermometer there dipped to -19.3 C, while Summerland saw its mark of -8.4 C set in 2001 eclipsed by a wide margin when the temperature bottomed out at -15.6 C.

Those bone-chilling temperatures should be long gone by the end of the weekend.

“Monday into Tuesday we’re going from this cold air mass to a front coming in off the Pacific and that brings us warmer air and moisture, and that usually gives us a bit of a headache of some snow and the risk of freezing rain,” said Lundquist.

“Certainly by this time next week, we’ll be in the mid to maybe high single digits temperature-wise.”

It’s too early to tell if winter is on its way out, Lundquist continued, but he cast doubt on suggestions to the contrary made by groundhogs last Sunday.

“There’s almost never six weeks of winter after Groundhog Day,” he said. “It’s just climatologically not possible here in B.C. Southern Interior.”

 

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