High pressure ridge to blame for Kitimat’s lack of winter

An unusually warm winter season can be blamed on a high pressure ridge keeping winter storms at bay.

You’re not imagining it, it has been warmer and drier than usual for this time of year.

Winter has hardly seemed to have materialized in this corner of the world, even as severe weather has at times ravaged parts of the country out east, and in the United States.

But in Kitimat we’ve enjoyed what seems like a prolonged spring.

David Jones, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said a high pressure system is the culprit for keeping winter at bay.

“The short term and the proximate reason is because we’ve had this massive ridge of high pressure across the west coast of North America that just won’t go away,” he said. “It comes and goes and keeps re-establishing itself and its blocking all the storms from moving onto the coast, mostly to the south.”

That same pressure front cuts down on precipitation as well.

“It’s a pattern that we don’t have an explanation for at this point, it’s just one of the extremes that we can see here in the winter time.”

That said, just the fact that it’s warm this season doesn’t mean that Kitimat is looking at a trend for future years. He said next year’s winter could easily be one of the region’s normal ones.

“It’s unusual, it’s not frequent but it’s weather and it’s part of what weather is. Weather is the extremes, it is the unusual as well as the average,” he added.

Using the data from a weather station in Prince Rupert, he noted that for the past 30 days as of January 30, the temperature had been four degrees more than the average.

He said in Vancouver the temperatures have been 1.5 degrees more than the average for the past 30 days as well, while Whitehorse has been an astonishing nine degrees above the average.