2012 trumps precipitation record

City crews are still hard at work cleaning up after the major snowfall hitting the Kootenays this week. No doubt, records were set. - Kirsten Hildebrand photo
City crews are still hard at work cleaning up after the major snowfall hitting the Kootenays this week. No doubt, records were set.
— image credit: Kirsten Hildebrand photo

As of Friday morning, 2012 goes down in the books as the wettest year on record.

“We had enough precipitation in the last 24 hours that we have surpassed the previous record,” Ron Lakeman told the Star Friday morning.

Lakeman is a weatherman who studies data collected out of the Castlegar airport where record keeping began in 1966.

December’s precipitation is still running around average with 88 mm falling so far this month. The norm is 92 mm.

This year, there were several other wetter months that filled the gauge.

“March, June, July, October and November were all very wet months so all we needed was about a normal amount in the month of December to make 2012 the year with the greatest amount of precipitation,” Lakeman said.

After the major dump of snow hitting the Kootenays this week, there was a record set for December.

For the 24-hour period ending Thursday morning, Castlegar set a record for snowfall with 34 cm of the white stuff accumulating.

It did snow less in Castlegar on Wednesday but the system hit more universally that night and through the day Thursday.

“Regardless, it was a significant amount,” said Lakeman.

The snow that fell Wednesday into the evening was fluffy, low-density or “champagne powder,” said Lakeman who described the buildup.

“Dendrite snow stacks less efficiently in comparison to a really fine snowflake so they tend to stack up and you can get a large accumulation as an amount building up with very little water content,” he said.

Thursday’s snow was denser with more water content.

In the days leading up to Christmas, the wet stuff will keep falling, said Lakeman. There won’t be the significant dump that hit the Kootenays this week, rather smaller systems giving this region a mix of rain and snow as the temperature hovers around 0 degrees.

“A white Christmas is in the cards,” joked Lakeman who’s had a couple very busy days watching the weather.

He did get a chance to enjoy the snow Thursday evening, home from work, snow blowing done, he took a run or two down the toboggan hill with his kids.


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