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This winter in the Okanagan is the hardest ever to predict, meteorologist says

To kick off the month of December, cities in the Okanagan set national heat records
With the arrival of December, Environment Canada officially observes the start of winter. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

It’s that time of year again.

Environment Canada officially observes the start of winter when the calendar flips to December and with that comes a weather projection for the entire season.

In early November, Environment Canada said there’s a 30 per cent chance of a white Christmas in Okanagan. The arrival of December, however, marks the official start of a long-term seasonal forecast.

“This has been the hardest (winter) to call in years,” said Doug Lundquist, a Kelowna-based meteorologist. “Our model is actually saying that our winter is likely to be in the cold category, but it’s been flipping around so I don’t put too much stock into that.”

Lundquist said that he’s skeptical about any long-term forecast right now because of the unpredictable weather changes in the Okanagan.

“Even though it’s December, I’m not believing the long-term forecast. I’ve done this job for 34 years and most winters I have a lot of believability in long-term forecasts, but this year I don’t.”

As of Dec. 2, the 30 per cent chance of a white Christmas in parts of the Okanagan as previously predicted stands, according to Lundquist.

READ MORE: 30% chance of a snowy white holiday in Penticton, meteorologist says

Environment Canada may observe the start of winter until Dec. 1, but in the case of 2021, the weather didn’t quite agree with the experts. Heat records were set across the Okanagan on Wednesday, with Penticton seeing a temperature that reached up to 22.5 C.

It’s safe to say that the beginning of December was anything but winter-like in the Okanagan.

“It was the hottest ever December day in B.C. history it looks like and maybe tied or possibly the hottest December day ever in Canada,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like that.”

Wednesday’s warm climate in Penticton and Salmon Arm wasn’t the first time the Okanagan had set all-time weather records in 2021.

In June, Kelowna and Penticton both set records for the highest temperature ever recorded in each respective city.

READ MORE: Penticton smashes 90-year-old heat record for December

READ MORE: Warm North Okanagan weather results in December lake dip


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About the Author: Logan Lockhart

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