After a mostly sunny day, the weather became overcast, but it was still about 20C (68F) and very comfortable for an evening walk.
We saw this sailboat heading into the Penticton marina for the night, which seemed a good idea to me as the wind was coming up quite strongly. It seems we are getting some residual effects from the typhoon that just crossed the Pacific and bumped into the coast. That interaction is much farther north in Alaska, but apparently, this is leading to significant weather impacts in the south, wind included.
M and I have travelled the Coquihalla Connector highway between Kamloops and Peachland while on our way to and from the Okanagan Valley and the Northwest Territories many times.
This four to six lane mountain superhighway at an elevation of 1240 m (4100 ft) is in many ways an engineering marvel. Its posted speed is 120 km (74 miles) per hour and access is extremely limited, so once you have set your cruise control, you are very efficiently traversing an area that was once the bane of early travellers. The railroads of the early 1900s failed frequently due to winter storms, avalanches and washouts and the population of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley was fairly isolated from the rest of the province with only lengthy and circuitous road routes at lower elevations.
Even now, it’s not all smooth driving, however. This highway experiences severe winter storms with low visibility and nasty icing conditions. “Runaway lanes” are available in case you lose control on the extreme downhill portions of it. In fact, a reality program called “Highway thru Hell,” detailing the challenges of operating tow trucks along the Coquihalla and Coquihalla Connector debuted in 2012 and is still very popular today.
When M and I travel this highway in December and January, we are careful to do our homework first and to only drive it in the daylight hours. Nevertheless, it’s an amazing highway and well worth the drive if you find yourself in the area; the views are spectacular, especially as you start nearing Okanagan Lake.
These pretty cotton-ball clouds arrived on the horizon while I was enjoying some deck time. Although they look harmless, cumulonimbus clouds can pack a very serious wallop, especially if they get together in a group or start growing vertically. These clouds are doing both, and a bit later we had an enormous thunder storm.
Because cumulonimbus clouds are formed by rising water vapour droplets, powerful upward air currents can develop and possibly lead to unstable and turbulent air that could become seriously problematic for aircraft. In their most severe forms, cumulonimbus clouds can lead to massive thunder storms or tornadoes.
So when your flight is delayed because of summer weather, just remember that although these clouds look like harmless powder puffs, you probably wouldn’t want to fly through one.
Penticton (and most of British Columbia) has had a much colder winter than usual. Heck, over the last six months, it’s had unbelievably bad weather, period.
First there were heat waves (referred to as “heat domes” by the media). No matter what they were called, they were bad. I will never forget seeing on June 28 a temperature of 46°C (115°F) on our deck. In the shade.
Then there were the fires. Almost all of the town of Lytton was consumed by them. Throughout British Columbia, the air quality was terrible and the heat unrelenting.
Then autumn brought intense rain accompanied by high winds. The rain saturated the soil, the wind pulled the fire-dead trees from the ground, and this lead to extreme flooding and landslides, especially in the lower mainland. Dozens of landslides swept vehicles from the roads and trapped people and communities in isolated pockets.
The Coquihalla Highway, a main four-to-six lane artery that carries supplies and people through the mountains, was seriously damaged in 20 separate places. The community of Abbotsford, a major supplier of dairy and other agricultural products and situated in the lower mainland, suffered extreme flooding and enormous economic damage.
Now we’re being hit by record-breaking cold temperatures with freezing rain, snow and slush. The media are doing reports on how people can help to save the non-migratory hummingbirds from freezing to death. According to the scientists, this is the tip of the (melting) iceberg because these “weather events” are going to get worse.
Question is, what are we doing to mitigate this situation? And, what are we doing to get ready for what’s coming?