Castlegar Weather Forecaster Speaks to Weekend Weather, Summer, more


It's been a week of warm and stormy weather across the Kootenays and so Bounce Radio News checked in with Castlegar's Southeast Fire Centre for some insight.

Firstly, last month broke an impressive climate record for our area.

Weather Forecaster Jesse Ellis explains:

“We have a new record maximum temperature, I think we have 58 years of data at this weather station so it’s a significant new high temperature record for the month of April. The new high temperature is 28.7 degrees, we saw that on April 29th. Previous to that the highest temperature that had been recorded in the month was 28.2 degrees set in 1980.”

Ellis says a strong upper ridge of warmer and dryer air is currently helping us reach the 30's:

“We’re currently in a period of hotter than normal temperatures and the reason for it is a similar feature to what brought us that record breaking temperature in April. It’s a strong upper ridge, so it’s an area where the atmosphere is warmer, drier and more stable than usual…. But with that we’re also seeing a little bit of an injection of moisture into that warm air mass and that’s helping to produce the thunderstorms that we’re seeing, pretty much each afternoon this week. Maybe not thunderstorms over one spot each afternoon, but if we look at the southeast of BC as a region we’re seeing thunderstorms pretty much daily.”

Jesse says hazy skies these past few days are seeing wildfire smoke from Alberta and Northern BC:

“In many, maybe not all, but it many areas you can see the smoke, you can see the haze but not necessarily smell the smoke and that’s because it’s coming in at higher elevations. It is mixing down to lower elevations the longer is sits over us….”

He adds that smoke should dissipate and move eastwards over this weekend:

“We should see less wildfire smoke at that time so long as we don’t have any new sources of smoke upstream of us. We’re also going to have some patches of moisture entrained in that south westerly flow to maintain a chance of showers or thunder showers right through Saturday. Sunday or Sunday night there is a frontal system that approaches from the west and then probably Sunday night or Monday we’re going to be seeing an uptick in winds in many areas and a downturn in our temperatures. Right now the guidance is suggesting up to ten degrees of cooling between Friday afternoon and Monday afternoon after that frontal wave pushes over the area.”

Ellis explains that computer weather models lose confidence the further into the future you look, but he still has some insight into summer 2023:

“At the moment some of the longer range guidance is pointing towards on average warmer than normal conditions for the months of June, July, August, but that’s not to say that every day is going to be warmer than average. We can have a lot of variability through that three month period, but at the end of that three month period the latest guidance is leaning a little bit more towards warmer than normal temperatures.”

He adds that averaging out the forecast misses the finer details, like for example, if our area saw a week of hot weather and a week of cold weather the mean temperature would sit in the middle.