The Okanagan may not get snow for Christmas

You may not want to bet on having a White Christmas

Dreaming of a white Christmas? You may be out of luck.

December has offered only 3.6 mm of precipitation in the Central Okanagan, to date. Compare that to the 32.6 mm that regularly falls in December and it’s clear we’re having a dry spell. The data is similar for cities throughout the B.C. Interior.

Whether it will last, however, is the big question that Environment Canada meteorologist Lisa West can’t answer with any certainty.

With two weeks until Christmas remaining, West said forecasts for the big day are only starting to take shape, though there are some elements falling into place that don’t bode well for snow lovers.

The current dry spell is due to a persistent upper level ridge of high pressure, which took over a good chunk of Western North America. By Friday “the ridge gets a knockout punch” and it’s expected to be pushed off in favour of a more active weather pattern. That means there’s a 60 per cent chance that some rain or snow may fall.

By next week, however, West said the weather “models are hinting at a ridge of high pressure rebuilding.”

“It’s not set in stone, but it’s what we’re seeing now,” she said, adding that how the ridge sets itself up could dictate if there are more or less wintry days ahead.

If you’re a betting sort, you may feel less inclined to follow the prognosticators and lean toward the odds, which are in favour of snow.

West said that Environment Canada views Christmas weather in two ways — a White Christmas or a Perfect Christmas.

For a White Christmas there needs to be two centimetres of snow on the ground. For a Perfect Christmas there needs to be two centimetres of snow on the ground, plus snow in the sky.

“Looking at what has happened over the last 61 years of weather records we’ve come up with percentages on how likely it is to have snow on Christmas day,” said West.

“From 1955 to 2015 … 62 per cent of those years have had the White Christmas with two centimetres of snow. In those years there was a 26 per cent occurrence of a Perfect Christmas.”

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.



kmichaels@kelownacapnews.com

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