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Warm fall ahead, Environment Canada says

'The Blob' is back, moderating conditions after summer holiday
September 23, 2016 11:37 A.M.
Fall colours frame Mt. Paul from Station Plaza.

Friday’s showers should be short-lived with a sunny start to autumn in the forecast over the next few days.

And it gets better: Interior B.C. residents can look forward to more good weather ahead. After a cooler than normal end of summer, the region can look forward to a warmer than usual fall, according to Environment Canada.

That’s because The Blob is back, meteorologist Matt MacDonald said Friday, Sept. 23. The so-called blob is a mass of relatively warm ocean water off the coast of North America.

“The Blob has actually returned,” MacDonald said. “It took a hiatus this spring.”

It was a summer holiday in terms of influencing the weather, but the Blob — 3,000 kilometres across and 1,500 km from north to south — never went anywhere except below the ocean surface. Now that it has returned to the top 100 metres, it will have a warming effect on Pacific air masses, the chief determinant of B.C. weather.

“That’s what’s driving our fall forecast. We’re expecting a warmer than normal fall, anywhere from 1.5-2 C warmer.”

Environment Canada expects a 30 percent chance of showers Friday afternoon, giving way to a sunny Saturday morning with a mix of sun and clouds in the afternoon. Similar conditions are forecast to continue into next week.

Friday, Sept. 23 is the first full day of fall, though summer officially ended Thursday at 7:21 a.m. 

With the dissipation of the El Nino effect in the spring, it seemed to be a more temperate summer, though not when the variatios are averaged out over the season. The average temperature in Kamloops was actually warmer than normal, 20.8 C compared with 20.3 C. It was relatively drier as well, overall, 93 mm of rainfall compared to the average of 93 mm. Rainfall tended to be spread out, which helped prevent drought conditions such as those of summer 2015.

MacDonald wouldn’t hazard a guess as to whether that will affect precipitation, but does note that October tends to be a cooler but drier month in Kamloops. Temperatures drop sharply at this point by as much as 7 C on average.

At the same time, a slightly warmer doesn’t preclude an early arrival of an Arctic air mass, which can occur in late fall. In other words, skiers can take heart. Motorists are best to remember that snow tires are mandatory on all rural highways as of Oct. 1.

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