Rain dominated the forecast over southern B.C. last month. File photo

September arrived like summer, left like early winter

Nice weather, if you’re a duck

September was no fun for gardeners, hikers or people just hoping for a last shot of summer.

After a few nice days at the start, the rest of the month was marked by rain — a lot of rain.

“Normally we expect September to be a pleasant month, because we don’t have the insanely high temperatures we have in July and August,” says Chris Cowan, a weather forecaster at the Southeast Fire Centre (SEFC) in Castlegar. “You expect it to be nice, and it wasn’t.”

An upper ridge of high pressure allowed for dry, mainly sunny and very warm conditions during the initial five days of the month, says a summary released by the SEFC. The warmest temperature during the month was 32.2 degrees, on the 1st.

But after that, “cooler and frequently showery conditions prevailed between the 6th and the 26th as a near continuous series of Pacific disturbances pushed across southern B.C.”

In fact, the number of days with rainfall — 19 — broke a record. The previous most days for rain was 17, set back in 1997. The normal number of rainy days is eight.

The most significant rainfall was the 12.0 millimetres, which fell on the 15th. The total monthly rainfall was 57.4 mm, which is 35 per cent greater than normal.

After all the rain, things got ugly near the end of the month.

A highly modified Arctic air mass, which gradually seeped west of Alberta in combination with an upper low pressure centred south of the U.S. border, resulted in unseasonably cold temperatures, significant wind at times, and a very low snow level (locally heavy mountain snow) the night of the 27th through the following weekend.

New record daily minimum average temperatures of 5.5 and 4.6 degrees were set on the 29th and 30th respectively.

The initial frost of the season also occurred in many areas during the early morning of the 30th, with local temperatures around Castlegar dropping to just 0.2 C.

And it doesn’t look like October is going to provide much relief.

“It looks more like a late fall pattern, where you get these low-pressure systems, following one after the other,” says Cowan. “We seemed to have a very hard time this year getting a sustained ridge of high pressure, which is typical this time of year, something that will last five or six days in a row.

“We’re not seeing any sign of that.”

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