FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. -Much like most of the province, the Peace region had experienced its fair share of extreme weather in 2021.
On June 29th, Dawson Creek recorded its highest ever temperature at 38.9 degrees, nearly three degrees over its previous heat record of 36.1 degrees, recorded on August 2nd, 1931.
Meteorologist Doug Lundquist says a temperature increase that high is highly uncommon.
“That’s a crazy amount. Breaking the all-time hottest temperature by not just a few tenths of a degree, but by three full degrees. It’s extraordinary,” Lundquist remarked.
Lundquist says despite the extreme weather seen throughout B.C., temperatures in Fort St. John came out near average.
“The average temperature for Fort St. John was a tenth of a degree above average. It was at 2.4 degrees when it’s usually at 2.3 degrees for the whole year,” Lundquist explained.
“It was abnormally normal, but there was nothing normal about it. So that temperature was near average. But because we have the extreme heat in June and early and throughout July, it was counteracted by a very cold December, about 6 degrees colder than normal,” Lundquist continued.
According to Lundquist’s data, Fort St. John hasn’t seen as much precipitation this year, averaging out at about 383 millimetres for the whole year instead of its 445 millimetre average.
“We have one extreme to the other. It looked like an average year if we average it out, but nothing was normal about the year. The heat and dry at times and then wetter at other times in the year because December was actually very dry,” Lundquist said.
“For Fort St. John, we had only 13mm of precipitation when we usually get 22mm. So it was just a year of extremes, and the extremes cancel each other out when you look at the year as a whole,” Lundquist continued.
Lundquist says residents can expect to start seeing warmer temperatures soon.
“We’re coming up to a pattern here for the next week to 10 days, where we’re going to be much warmer. You might even see Chinook conditions into the Peace region that results in temperature just popping near to or above zero,” Lundquist said.
Lundquist notes the term chinook conditions in the context of weather stems from the Indigenous term Chinook, which means “snow eater.”
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