Warm winter prompts flowers to bloom in Okanagan

Mild season in Vernon

It’s been a relatively mild winter for the Okanagan so far.

So much in fact, that flowers are starting to bloom.

Vernon resident Brian Sutch captured photos of two primroses struggling back to life on the south-facing side of his Bella Vista home Jan. 5.

He calls them the first spring flowers.

But Jan. 7 is unusually early for spring, which doesn’t actually come into effect for nearly three months (March 20).

“It has been quite warm in the Okanagan this season,” said Bobby Sekhon, meteorologist with Environment Canada.

Systems from the northwest have been bringing some warm air with them, yet no records have been broken in Vernon.

Sunday, Feb. 6 was close as the mercury rose to 6.9. But it wasn’t enough to shatter the record of 7.2 from 1911.

Kelowna, Summerland and Penticton all broke records on Friday, Jan. 4.

See: A little bit of everything: B.C. cities break records for snow, rain and heat

“The average maximum daily temperature is supposed to be about -5 for January, but so far this year the average has been more like 2.5,” said Sekhon. “It’s been quite mild.

“December was the ninth warmest for Vernon and we have records going back to 1901.”

And the trend is likely to continue for January, February and March. A weak el nino pattern means warmer temperatures for much of B.C., according to Sekhon.

But he cautions: “We could still see some major snowstorms come through.”

See: B.C. braces for more rain, snow and wind storm warnings


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