Wednesday sees record snow levels for December

Wednesday saw record snow fall levels in Castlegar. - Jim Sinclair
Wednesday saw record snow fall levels in Castlegar.
— image credit: Jim Sinclair

Any thoughts of Castlegar not having a white Christmas, are pretty much gone by the wayside. Particularly after the huge dump of snow the area received on Wednesday (Dec. 19) which set a record for snow fall level in December for Castlegar.

"We had 34 centimeters of snow during the 24 hours of Dec. 19," said Ron Lakeman, weather specialist for the Southeast Fire Centre. "That 34 cm's is the greatest one day December snow fall on record."

The former record was 33.4 from Dec. 10, 1995. The greatest one day snow fall of all in Castlegar was 43.7 cm's from January of 1969.

"We had another 6 cm's through the day Thursday, then we had 1 1/2 last night (Thursday night) with a bit of rain," he said. "The big dump, of course, was Wednesday and Wednesday night. The amounts that occurred after were definitely lighter. Temperatures have moderated enough that what we're getting now is wet snow mixed with a bit of rain."

Lakeman says the reason for the large snow fall on Wednesday was a big system from from the coast.

"It was a very large, slow moving frontal system," he said. "It was a system that came in from the coast and the amount of snow was largely due to the very slow movement of the system. More commonly they move across in a relatively quick fashion as in you'll get a period of maybe six or eight hours of precipitation, whereas this was almost a steady 30-36 hours of precipitation. The temperature was such that is was largely snow. The temperature was slowly coming up during that period. But 90 per cent of what fell was in the form of snow. The temperature didn't come up until the end. We didn't mix over to rain until the evening (of the 19th)."

Lakeman says that Castlegar residents can expect more systems in the next few days.

"None of them look as large as the system of recent," he said. "But each one will produce some precipitation. The dilemma now is that the temperature is mild enough that it will be rain at times. It will likely go back and forth between wet snow and rain. Our temperature will probably hover within a degree of the freezing mark."

Lakeman expects temperatures to drop around Christmas, which would mean more straight snow.

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