Environment Canada is predicting today’s regional high temperature could reach 31 degrees Celsius. That would break a daily record high in Dawson Creek of 28.5 degrees Celsius set back in 1981, but would fall just short of the monthly record of 32 degrees Celsius. In Fort St. John, today could shatter the daily record high of 26.7 degrees, and break the monthly record high of 30 degrees set back in 1944.
However, Doug Lundquist, warning preparedness meteorologist for British Columbia and the Yukon, said the cloud cover the region is experiencing could be a mitigating factor.
“It is possible we could break some records in the Peace today, but let’s watch that thick, high cloud that you have over you right now,” he said.
That warm weather is expected to continue for the rest of the month, he added.
“For the next week it’s going to remain on the mild side, and for the week after that – the week of Sept. 16 to 23 – there’s a very high probability all of the Peace country will be above normal for temperature,” said Lundquist. “It looks like for the rest of the month of the September, we’re more likely to be above normal for temperature.”
He said while it is not unusual to have a few hot, sunny days in the region in September, what is unusual is the strength of a high pressure ridge that persisting for a really long time and resulting in this latest warm stretch of weather.
He said that might be partly explained by a phenomenon called La Nina, a climate pattern affecting the Pacific region that is characterized by colder-than-normal water collecting off the coast of South America. He said the Peace region experienced that last winter, and while it typically results in colder winters and a cool, lingering spring, it has often been observed to result in unseasonably warm weather in the following late summer and early fall months.
He added La Nina was at least partly responsible for the severe storms and heavy snowfalls experienced in many parts of the province last winter.
Lundquist said there is a 50 per cent chance that phenomenon could return this upcoming winter, likely resulting in colder-than-average temperatures, though he said that is offset somewhat by the fact that the overall climate have been warming over the last couple of decades.
As for the rest of the fall, he said the seasonal forecast is a little more difficult to predict, but it is more likely the region will experience above-average or near-average temperatures into October and November.
“Because September is starting off so mild, I have to think the fall, generally, will be either slightly warmer than normal, or fairly close to normal for temperature,” he said.