Penticton as seen from West Bench, with clouds moving in. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Penticton as seen from West Bench, with clouds moving in. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

South Okanagan experiences warmer than average December, rainstorms incoming

The end of 2020 and start of 2021 are warmer than usual

If you feel a little warm, it’s not just you, and it’s not just this year.

Temperatures across the South Okanagan were above zero for New Year’s Day, and based on the forecast, it’s likely to stay that way for the next week.

For the month of December, the average high was 2.5C and the average low, typically in the early mornings, was -1.1C. Over the upcoming weekend temperatures are expected to reach highs of 7C on Saturday, 5C on Sunday, and 1C on Monday.

The average high and low temperatures for December are 1.4C and -3.5C, with 2020 averaging 1 to 2.5 degrees hotter.

“So you can see that people’s anecdotal evidence about it feeling warmer, these numbers do show it is warranted. Typically the highs are a little higher, lows are not as cold as the average,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Colin Fong.

The warmer temperatures this weekend are due to several storm systems bringing warmer air through the South Okanagan.

“Looking out in the long-term here, it’s going to be one storm after the other. You might get some brief breaks in between, but they’ll be short-lived,” said Fong.

Those storm systems moving through the South Okanagan will be carrying warm air, and Fong noted that were was no signal of any Arctic air in the forecast, so expect plenty of rain instead of snow.

If you are planning to drive somewhere, be careful, as temperatures are still expected to dip below zero overnight.

The storm systems will also be bringing some high winds of 50 km/h for Saturday, with gusts of up to 70 km/h, easing off into Sunday afternoon.

READ MORE: Mild weather continues for Okanagan–Shuswap

It’s not only the days ahead that are looking warmer than usual; last month’s weather was also a bit hotter.

Compared to the 30-year climate normal, which is what Environment Canada uses to help predict longer seasonal weather patterns, 2020’s December was also warmer.

January’s averages are highs of 1.8C and lows of -3C.

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