(Betsy Kine/Castlegar News)

August temperatures a touch above normal in West Kootenay

But little rain makes for a very dry month

August in the West Kootenay is usually hot and dry, and last month was not much different.

“It was not excessively warm, but still warmer than average,” says Jesse Ellis, a weather forecaster at the Southeast Fire Centre.

The centre issued its August weather summary on Friday.

It says a warm westerly or northwesterly flow from a ridge over the east Pacific dominated over the area during the majority of the month.

Peak temperatures were seen during the first part of the month with values exceeding 35 C on three days from the 6th to 8th.

Daily temperature records were broken by 0.5 of a degree twice during the month — on the 6th (36.5, previously 36.0 from 1997) and 7th (37.4, previously 36.9 from 2008).

The afternoon high of 37.4 degrees on the 7th was also the month’s peak value, falling short of the monthly record of 40.0 degrees set in 1967.

But all in all, it wasn’t as hot an August as we’ve seen in the last few years.

“Considering in 2018 we had six days over 35 degrees, and in 2017 we had nine days over 35C, if it seems like this year wasn’t as hot, that’s because it wasn’t,” says Ellis. However, he notes, the overall temperature was about 1.2 degrees above normal.

It was also dry, with total rainfall roughly half of normal.

“The only two precipitation events that managed to produce more than a half-millimetre of rain accounted for 96 per cent of the month’s total,” the report says.

The first, more significant event occurred on the 10th and 11th when bands of subtropical moisture approaching from south of the U.S. border. It brought showers and thundershowers producing a 48-hour total of 13.2 mm.

The second event occurred on the 23rd when a weakening Pacific frontal system produced 1.0 mm of rain as it tracked eastward across southern B.C.

Clear skies, longer nights, and a relatively dry air mass allowed temperatures to dip into the single digits towards the end of the month.

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