North Cowichan was Canada’s warmest place on Wednesday, reaching a high of 15.9 C. (File photo)

Cold snap coming later this week, but get ready for warm winter

The Warmland lives up to its name

The seemingly balmy weather in the Cowichan Valley two weeks ago will soon give way to much colder temperatures.

North Cowichan was the hottest place in Canada on Nov. 14, hitting a high of 15.9 C.

According to the Government of Canada website, it was the highest temperature on record for that date at the North Cowichan weather station, although available information only dates back to 2008.

But, after the Valley and much of the south Island experienced heavy rain through last weekend and Monday, followed by a period of unstable weather conditions that brought periods of sun and rain, Environment Canada said the area can expect to see clearing skies by mid week that will also see the temperatures plummet.

RELATED STORY: STORM DUMPS HEAVY RAIN

Armel Castellan, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said temperatures are forecast to dip to 0 C and even below at night, and not go much higher in the day time, until about Tuesday of next week.

He said no precipitation is forecast as the skies are expected to remain clear, but he warned about frost and black ice in the mornings that drivers should be aware of.

“An incoming ridge will cause the clearing of the skies and that means it should be clear, crisp and cooler than normal for the next week, with the possibility of some clouds,” Castellan said.

“The cooling should be a slow progression that will begin in the early week, with a gradual slide toward the cooler temperatures.”

As for the long range forecast for the coming winter months, Castellan said there is a high chance that the Cowichan Valley and much of B.C. will see another El Nino event occur.

RELATED STORY: MILD, DRY WINTER EXPECTED FOR MUCH OF BC

El Nino is characterized by a warming in the Pacific Ocean with repercussions across the globe, including higher temperatures and greater precipitation in various regions.

One of the strongest El Ninos on record occurred from the fall of 2015 well into 2016 and in Canada, it brought the second-warmest winter since record-keeping began in 1948.

Castellan said the forecast for the area is to have temperatures anywhere from one to three degrees above normal from late December through February.

“That doesn’t mean that we won’t get cold snaps and the occasional atmospheric rivers that will bring us precipitation like we had on Monday, but the overall trend will be for warmer than normal temperatures,” he said.

Castellan said an ongoing oceanic condition in the Pacific Ocean, known as “The Blob”, could also combine with El Nino to insure we have a warmer than normal winter.

The 1,000-kilometre-wide patch of water, 2 C warmer than the surrounding ocean, has been blamed for warmer temperatures on land in recent years, and is expected to influence weather patterns on the Island again this year.

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