Some Western Canadians are swapping their parkas for T-shirts and raincoats after swinging from record high temperatures to record lows and back again this winter.
“It’s been a bit of a weather whiplash scenario,” said Armel Castellan, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).
In B.C., West Vancouver and Abbotsford set all-time January temperature records Tuesday amid an atmospheric river event, hitting 18.2 and 17.3 C, respectively. More than 30 spots across B.C. broke daily records, according to ECCC.
But it’s not all sunshine. The southwestern portion of the province is facing heavy rain, with ECCC warning of flooding, pooling water and landslides through midweek for Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, Vancouver and Howe Sound.
B.C.’s River Forecast Centre expanded a flood warning to include the Lillooet River, and by Tuesday afternoon, the Village of Pemberton had declared a local state of emergency and issued an evacuation order for several properties.
The next wave of precipitation is expected Wednesday morning, Castellan said.
From mild December to deep freeze to thaw
Temperatures were well above normal at the start of the week for much of southern B.C., Alberta, northern Saskatchewan and northwestern Manitoba, as well as parts of southern Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
Calgary and Edmonton hit daily record highs on Tuesday, 15.1 C and 12 C respectively, with Edmonton recording its highest January temperature since 1941.
It’s a far cry from two weeks ago, when Western Canada was under extreme cold warnings, with some areas falling below -40 C and several cities breaking daily low temperature records as a polar vortex swept through the area, leading to flight and school bus cancellations.
Alberta’s biggest temperature jump was recorded just north of High Level. According to Alysa Pederson, a warning preparedness meteorologist with ECCC, a weather station in Keg River hit 14.4 C Monday, after a low of -50.6 C two weeks ago — marking a change of 65 C.