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B.C. wetter, warmer than usual

Enjoying the snow in Kimberley, B.C. in January
Enjoying the snow in Kimberley, B.C. in January

Alexandra Pope, staff writer

February 3, 2011 — Parts of British Columbia have had 20 per cent more precipitation than usual this year.

Rainfall totals expected through Friday
Rainfall totals expected through Friday

Parts of British Columbia are set to get soaked by yet another frontal system that could bring up to 60 mm of rain to some places through Friday. And that will help to continue the wetter than normal trend that has persisted throughout the first month of 2011.

According to Oga Nwobosi, The Weather Network's reporter in Vancouver, some parts of the province saw 20 per cent more precipitation - both snow and rain - than usual in January.

“We were plagued by snowfall and rainfall warnings throughout the month,” she says. “Many Vancouverites were happy to see January 2011 come to an end.”

Deep snow in Rossland, B.C.
Deep snow in Rossland, B.C.

However, February isn't off to a good start. The latest system dumped freezing rain on the Interior Wednesday night, causing a major pile-up on one highway and forcing officials to close another.

A tractor trailer that spun out on the Coquihalla Highway south of Merritt started a chain reaction that ultimately caused 15 cars and a bus carrying a Western Hockey League team to collide or slip off the road. Officials say no one was seriously hurt, but the highway was closed for six hours while crews worked to clear away the wreckage.

Highway 1 between Yale and Boston Bar was also closed Wednesday night due to dangerously slick conditions and was not expected to re-open until later on Thursday.

The good news is, temperatures will continue to be mild. Nwobosi says temperatures in January were about a degree warmer than usual.

Brian Dillon, a meteorologist at The Weather Network, says the current La Nina phenomenon - cooler-than- normal surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean - is likely driving the milder, wetter trend in B.C.

“(La Nina) tends to bring more precipitation to southern B.C., including more snow in the higher elevations, which they've had,” he says.

That makes for great skiing, but also an increased risk of avalanches.

Stay up to date on current conditions in your area with The Weather Network. Local forecasts come up every 10 minutes on the 10s on TV. You can also subscribe to receive weather alerts and public warnings on your mobile phone.

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