After four consecutive months of below average precipitation the local airport weather station set a new one day September record yesterday and nearly equalled the monthly average.
The Environment Canada September 2nd post was 42 point six millimetres easily surpassing the day’s previous record total of 17 point six, set in 2000.
However it also blew past the 31 year old, one day record amount for the month, of 37.3 millimetres posted on the 6th day of 1984.
Additionally, the downpour was only two millimetres less than the September precipitation average of 44.7 but alas it came about a month too late to be a major benefactor for hitherto parched grain crops.
In fact, the storm which could be the first sign of things to come in the next few months ground to a halt local area harvest operations.
Recall Environment Canada issued a warning last month about El Nino conditions in western Canada for the entire fall and winter season.
“The national weather service in the States monitors the temperatures of the surface ocean down near the equator,” said meteorologist Matt MacDonald. “When that sea surface temperature anomaly is warmer than half a degree Celsius for five consecutive months, that’s defined as El Nino. When the water is colder than normal to the tune of half a degree or more we define it as La Nina. Ever since the fall of 2014 El Nino has been developing, reaching a strength that’s similar to the one we saw in 2010.”
MacDonald also said all the international climate models suggest warmer than normal temperatures and a continuation of El Nino into next spring.
However he also had some words of interpretive caution.
“Warmer than normal doesn’t restrict us from having Arctic outbreaks where we’ll inevitably see snowstorms. In the entirety looking at the whole season it will be relatively mild. Studies have shown that the Peace district receives ten per cent more than normal precipitation during an El Nino year. One thing that’s certain is that a larger proportion of that precipitation is going to fall as rain as oppose to snow.”
Yesterday’s Fort St. John post was easily the highest among the major centres in the region, with Environment Canada recording the Peace River total at 19.8 millimetres, Dawson Creek at 16.1, Grande Prairie at only 2.6, and Fort Nelson at zero.