This month may go down as the warmest January on record in the Okanagan with many new temperature records having already been set.
According to Doug Lundquist with Environment Canada, the change in temperature has been caused by a westerly airflow and warmer than normal water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.
At their Kelowna weather station located at UBCO, Lundquist says the city broke a weather record (13.2 degrees) on Monday for the warmest January day. Vernon also broke records during the past few days that have stood for over 100 years. To further put this ‘heat wave’ into perspective, Osoyoos reached a high of 16 degrees on Monday.
In Kelowna, it's too warm for the City's outdoor ice rink at Stuart Park to stay open; it's more a pool than an ice rink now.
Temperatures are expected to stabilize somewhat over the next week, but will still be above normal in most areas.
“When the winds decrease here in the next few days, then the temperature will drop back as well,” says Lundquist.
He says temperatures should hover around the freezing mark for the next week. Beyond that, Lundquist says there is a 70-80 per cent chance that temperatures will stay above average throughout the end of the month.
“The coldest temperatures we get in February tend to be more modified. It doesn’t mean we won’t get any, but we’re really setting a pattern now that will take the edge off the middle of winter, and push into the climb to spring.”
Sometime during the middle of February is typically when the sun starts to become stronger, and he adds that will break away some of the cloud cover that tends to hang above Okanagan Lake.