Nearly 2 dozen temperature records broken in B.C. as final atmospheric river brings warm weather

Nearly two dozen temperature records were broken or tied in B.C. on the first day of December as the third in a trio of atmospheric rivers brought unseasonably warm weather to parts of the province.

B.C. has been dealing with chaotic weather this year, from a heat dome in the summer, to a tornado and bomb cyclone earlier this fall. In recent weeks, it's been atmospheric rivers that have hit the province, bringing record-breaking rainfall and devastating floods.

But the other element that comes with atmospheric rivers, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada's warning preparedness meteorologist Armel Castellan, is warmer temperatures.

"An atmospheric river not only brings moisture but it brings heat," he said Wednesday, adding that "many records" were being broken on Dec. 1.

In fact, preliminary data released by Environment Canada Thursday showed 20 records were shattered the day before and one was tied.

Many of the records are decades old and one was set nearly a century ago. Creston saw its hottest Dec. 1 ever on Wednesday, reaching 15.5 C. That's nearly five degrees warmer than the previous record set in 1926 of 10.6.

The highest temperature that broke a record was recorded in Penticton, which got to 22.5 C on Wednesday. That's more than double the previous record for Dec. 1, which was 11.2 C set in 2012.

Other temperature records broken in B.C. according to Environment Canada's preliminary data include:

  • Cache Creek area – new record of 15.6, old record of 12.2 set in 1949
  • Cranbrook area – new record of 12.8, old record of 9.6 set in 2008
  • Gibsons area – new record of 12.2, old record of 12.0 set in 1988
  • Kelowna area – new record of 17.8, old record of 13.0 set in 2012
  • Malahat area – new record of 10.5, old record of 10.0 set in 1988
  • Merritt area – new record of 15.0, old record of 12.8 set in 1941
  • Naksup area – new record of 15.0, old record of 11.7 set in 1971
  • Nelson area – new record of 13.4, old record of 8.5 set in 1995
  • Osoyoos area – new record of 18.1, old record of 12.3 set in 2012
  • Pemberton area – new record of 7.9, old record of 7.2 set in 1943
  • Pitt Meadows area – new record of 13.4, old record of 13.3 set in 1941
  • Princeton area – new record of 15.1, old record of 10.0 set in 2012
  • Salmon Arm area – new record of 17.9, old record of 11.4 set in 1995
  • Sparwood area – new record of 11.2, old record of 10.2 set in 2008
  • Squamish area – new record of 12.5, old record of 12.2 set in 1965
  • Summerland area – new record of 207., old record of 11.3 set in 2012
  • Trail area – new record of 13.1, old record of 10.7 set in 2012
  • Vernon area – new record of 17.5, old record of 11.2 set in 2012

As well, Sechelt tied its record of 12.2 set in 1958 on Wednesday.

In the days ahead, however, temperatures are expected to drop dramatically in some of these areas. In Penticton, for example, it's not expected to get warmer than freezing on Saturday and snow is in the forecast.

Experts have warned climate change will likely lead to more of these extreme weather events and natural disasters, like the recent string of atmospheric rivers.

"We've gone from some extremes to other extremes and unfortunately this is consistent with what climate change has been projecting for all parts of Canada," Castellan said.