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January sets new record for most days with measurable precipitation

The month of January saw nearly double the normal amount of rain and snow. — The Nelson Daily photo

The month of January proved to be a very active start to 2020 as a series of more than a dozen Pacific frontal systems passed over the area said the Southeast Fire Centre in its monthly weather bulletin.

Fire Weather Forecaster Jesse Ellis said in a media synopsis that not only did January see nearly double the normal amount of rain as well as nearly double the normal amount of snow, but it also set a new-record for the most days in a month with measurable precipitation — 26. 

“If we also take into consideration the days with a trace of either rain or snow, this month only saw two dry days,” Ellis said.

Ellis said an active-stormy pattern usually means a general westerly flow dominates most of the time which is in line with the mean monthly temperature being a half a degree warmer than average. 

He said the warmest temperature of the month was reported on January 4th —7.7 C — in the well-mixed airmass following a cold front the night before. 

“This set a new daily record but falls short of the monthly record high of 10 C,” Ellis explained.

“An Arctic airmass pushed into the area on January 13th bringing strong gusty winds and colder temperatures but it wasn't until the winds backed off during the early morning hours of January 15th that we saw the minimum monthly temperature of -14.7 (record minimum is -25.7).”

Ellis said most of the snow arrived between January 6th-16th when a total of 78.2cm fell, increasing our local accumulation on the ground from 23 cm to 61 cm.

He said milder temperatures towards end of month favoured rain in the valley bottom most days. 

“Warmer weather and a total of 42mm of rain from January 22nd onwards helped bring the local accumulation on the ground back down to 24cm by the end of the month,” Ellis said.

  • Measurable precipitation refers to 0.2mm or more or either rain or melted snow water equivalent.

The first few days of February saw high winds that produced hail flow through the region Saturday before Mr. Sun appeared for the first time in weeks Sunday and Monday.

Cooler temperatures with periods of snow or rain are expected to continue through the week and into next week.