FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — While you wouldn’t believe it with all of the snow that fell in Fort St. John over the past two days, data shows that the months of December, January, and February in Fort St. John were slightly colder and saw slightly more snow than normal, but the season wasn’t quite a record-breaker.
Meteorologist Armel Castellan with Environment Canada said that while the last three months in Fort St. John had some fairly drastic swings in the weather, overall this winter* was close to normal. Castellan said that the average temperature in Fort St. John this winter was -11.4 degrees, which is 1.1 degrees lower than normal. The North Peace Airport weather station recorded 84.4 millimetres of precipitation, which is 25 percent higher than the average of 67.8 mm. Despite that, Castellan said that this winter’s rain and snow doesn’t even rank in the Top 30 wettest winters.
Breaking things down month-by-month shows a slightly different picture. According to Castellan, Fort St. John only saw 2.4 centimetres of snow and 1.6 mm of rain in December 2017, ranking it as the fifth-driest December. He explained that the large ridge of high pressure that first pumped warm air from the south followed by frigid air from the Arctic helped keep the clouds at bay during that month.
The airport weather station did see a rebound in precipitation amounts in January and February this year. January’s snowfall amount of 41.4 cms was 64 percent higher than the average monthly amount of 33 cms, while the 37 cms that fell in February was enough to rank the month in the Top 15 wettest Februaries. Normally, Fort St. John sees 25 centimetres of snow in the second month of the year.
Temperature-wise, the Energetic City did not break a single day temperature record this past winter, though there were a number of days that saw record precipitation amounts.
Castellan said that with the moderate La Niña that has developed in the Pacific this winter, Fort St. John is likely to experience both a colder and wetter than normal March, though the cold and wet Spring should start to level off further into April.
*Environment Canada defines ‘winter’ as running from December 1st to February 28/29th.