A week of snowfall records

Nov. 2 snowfall one for the record books, according to Environment Canada.

In case you haven’t noticed, winter has arrived.

Yes, the seasons have changed as the bright colours of autumn have yielded to the new winter reality, and Cranbrook got blasted with it last week as the first snowfall hit the region.

According to data from Environment Canada, the first snowfall occurred on Nov. 1 with six centimetres, while the following day broke records with 20.4 centimetres.

It’s the most amount of snowfall recorded in Cranbrook on Nov. 2 of any year, according to an Environment Canada meteorologist.

“That in and of itself is a record,” said Armel Castellan, a meteorologist with Environment Canada. “So the previous one dated back to 1984 at 15.7 centimetres; that’s the previous Nov. 2 record, so that’s a daily record for that day in the year.”

In addition to the snowfall on that specific day, Castellan says other records for snow were broken early in the month.

He says data shows that the cumulative amount of snow on the ground between Nov. 3-7 has also broken records.

For cumulative snow measurements on the ground, starting on Nov. 3 and going forward day-by-day, there have been 30 centimetres, 32 centimetres, and 21 centimetres and 16 centimetres over two days.

“Certainly a string of several days in a row that the snow on ground record was broken.”

The amount of days with snowfall this early in the season has also been significant.

“Days with snowfall in November average about 7.6 days per November…so you’re well on your way to obliterating that average,” Castellan said, “because you’ve had snow several days this month so far and there is definitely more in the forecast.”

Castellan says that the system at the end of the week is currently disintegrating as it moves to the south, which should create some sunny skies in Cranbrook over the weekend.

However, another system is forecast to move in on Sunday as it will reach the coast and affects the rest of the southern interior of the province.

“Cranbrook generally does stay above zero as a daytime high and that looks to be true for Monday when the system hits,” Castellan said, “and then by Tuesday and into the middle of the week, we start to see temperatures cold enough to have that precipitation fall as snow.”

Estimating how much snow could fall next week is anyone’s guess, he added, while noting the forecast could change given offshore surface temperatures.

“Similarly to last year, we’re entering a weak La Nina phenomenon and that traditionally means colder than normal for the winter months, as well as usually a little wetter than normal or more precipitation than normal,” Castellan said.

“So in your case, it will probably mean snowier than normal or more precipitation than normal. That said, those comments can be tempered because the sea surface temperatures offshore are a little bit warmer this time last year, so we have a little bit less confidence in categorically saying it’s going to be colder and snowier than normal.”

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