March one of wettest months on record

It took Mother Nature until the final day of March to allow residents to experience some enjoyable spring weather. — The Nelson Daily
It took Mother Nature until the final day of March to allow residents to experience some enjoyable spring weather. — The Nelson Daily

If anyone thought March was a little wetter than normal, they were right.

March 2017 checked in as one of the wettest months on record said Ron Lakeman, Weather Forecaster for the Southeast Fire Centre in Castlegar in the monthly weather synopsis.

“The total amount of precipitation was 125.4 millimetres and very close to twice the amount during an average March,” said Lakeman, adding a near endless stream of Pacific disturbances was the blame for a wet and slightly cooler than normal March.

“Only March of 2012 (145.6 mm) and March 1995 (133.9 mm) had greater amounts of precipitation.”

Lakeman said there were 27 days in which measurable precipitation was recorded, a new record maximum number of days of precipitation during March. 

“It's also the greatest number of days with measurable precipitation during any month since local records began 52 years ago,” he said.

The blame for cooler temperatures was due to extensive cloud cover during the month.

He said the cool temperatures in combination with a greater than normal amount of snow on the ground at the beginning of the month resulted in a delayed snow free date.

“The final day with any snow on the ground was the 21st, which is approximately two weeks later than normal and five or six weeks later than the past two years,” Lakeman explained.

“As was the case this year, spring more commonly arrives late during or following a La Nina. The latest snow free date on record is April 7th, 1975.”

It took most of the month for people to see any sunshine, with the highlight coming on the final day when a brief ridge of high pressure produced a fairly sunny sky and a high temperature of 17.1 degrees.

Lakeman said the total seasonal (November through March) snowfall this winter was 204.8 centimetres, which is near normal. 

“The greater than normal mid-late winter snowpack was a result of the cooler than normal temperatures/lack of melting and the greater than normal February-early March snowfall.”

He said 450 cm of snow fell during the winter of 1996/97 with the greatest local seasonal snowfall is 490.5 cm from 1968/69.

Environment Canada forecast has the temperature rising to the low teens through the week with sunshine for the next few days before rain returns.