Wondering where winter went?
You should probably get out and enjoy the warm weather — while you can.
Though 2011 came to an unusually warm end, weather experts are predicting it won’t likely last.
Jim Steele, Environment Canada’s Kamloops-based meteorologist, said the long-term forecast for January shows colder air and temperatures on the way by the middle of the month.
And, just because it’s been a warm start to winter doesn’t mean a La Nina weather system won’t get the last laugh.
Steele said there is some relationship between the weather pattern and colder winters, but it hasn’t been completely defined.
“In fact, we’ve had years where it’s warmer than normal with La Nina,” he said.
Instead, Steele noted the statistics point to the greatest impact from La Nina coming at the tail-end of winter through spring.
It’s the type of weather Kamloopsians were treated to last spring, when it remained wet and dreary right through to July.
“I’m fearful this could be like last year where nothing happened and the winter was not bad, then spring came and it felt more like winter,” Steele said.
La Nina is an ocean-atmosphere phenomenon, the counterpart of El Nino. It results in lower-than normal sea-surface temperatures; El Nino sees higher-than-normal sea-surface temperatures.
Several weather agencies made predictions for what the Kamloops region can expect this winter, but almost all differed in some way.
AccuWeather called for the coldest winter in B.C. in 20 years, in part based on a second-straight winter La Nina weather pattern.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac called for temperatures in the north to be below average, while the southern portion of the province is expected to be warmer than normal.
So far, in the early part of the winter, the most-dire predictions have yet to materialize.
According to Environment Canada, December will be remembered for being mild and remarkably dry.
With just days left in the month, only four millimetres of precipitation had fallen.
The average for December is 29 millimetres.
Steele noted it wasn’t the driest month on record, but it will fall somewhere in the Top 10.
Though December wasn’t the warmest month either, there were some record-breaking days.
It was warm enough to dust off the golf clubs early on Dec. 28, as the mercury hit 10.9 C, breaking a record for the day that goes back to 1980. Dec. 29 was 11.4 C, also a record. The temperature also never dropped below -12 C for the entire month.