Environment Canada recognizes the start of spring when the calendar flips to March 1 but the weather in the Okanagan over the last three days hasn’t indicated a new season is on the horizon.
Temperatures in the Penticton from Monday to Wednesday (Feb. 21 to 23) reached lows of -12 C, a number worthy of hanging around with among the coldest late-February days in the city’s history.
The shift from a warmer than usual mid-February to a shivering last few days wasn’t a surprise to experts. In fact, the constant weather changes are something people should grow custom to as the spring of 2022 arrives.
“Next week should be fairly warm and then heading into the second week of March we’ll have a dip again,” said Derek Lee, a meteorologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada.
“So, don’t be putting away the winter coats yet because there’s definitely chances for one or two cold days here and there (in March).”
Lee added that even though it’s not uncommon for Okanagan to experience winter-like temperatures as springtime approaches, it’s still considered unusual.
“Looking at the end of February (historically), we still have records of temperatures being as cold as -17 C.
“The area has definitely received colder weather than what we’ve seen this week, but it is rare to have a colder stretch at the end of February.”
Meteorologists at Environment Canada expect highs of below freezing in Penticton on Wednesday (Feb. 23), significantly lower than the average daily high for late-February days.
The pending arrival of March, however, will mitigate some of the trends that indicate a La Nina year.
“Moving into springtime, we will get less and less of that chance (for cold weather) as that sun angle is usually higher,” Lee said. “We are expecting a La Nina year, which means a generally cooler winter and early spring months.
“But when you get into March, the sun has enough power to keep the days longer and temperatures warmer.”
Penticton is expected to see temperatures back above freezing starting on Saturday (Feb. 26), after being among the cities in the Okanagan to set heat records on Feb. 7.