Canadians love to talk about the weather and there’s been plenty to talk about.
With Okanagan temperatures holding steady way above the freezing mark, the snow is melting and the creeks are swelling —; prompting the Regional District to issue an early warning about the potential for flooding.
“We’ve got a lot of winter left, so there’s potential for more snowpack and there’s the spring when we start to see the rains through the Central Okanagan,” says Bruce Smith of Central Okanagan Regional District. “If you get a combination of a high snowpack and heavy rainfall with warm temperatures, you can see the creeks rise fairly quickly.”
Rising creeks are not the only concern. Okanagan orchardists are also watching the thermometer because an early spring can be too much of a good thing.
Fred Steele, president of the BC Fruit Growers Association says an early growing season has the potential to throw everything out of sequence.
“We have foreign labour which is on a schedule according to applications. All of that can be thrown out because you need applications sooner. It also means that with the milder temperatures, the bugs get to survive the winter and infest the orchards that much sooner.”
Tim Culos has been working in orchards all his life. He says he’s never seen it this mild for February.
“Actually I was just looking at a thing on the Internet and it was -6 Celsius this time last year.”
The pear trees are already starting to bud. Culos says the worst case scenario is the sap in the free trees begins to flow and then temperatures plummet.
“My dad back in the sixties stood at the door and could hear trunks popping because the sap. The liquid was freezing inside the tree and busting the trunks open.
And the last thing orchardists want to hear hear is that winter is making a comeback.
Global Okanagan meteorologist, Wesla Wong, says winter will be making a return next week.
“So next week, expect temperatures closer to two or three degrees as a daytime high and we may even see temperatures below freezing for an overnight low next week.”
The first day of spring is March 20th.