British Columbia Hotspots

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I like listening to CBC radio out of Kelowna in the afternoons, and especially appreciate the host informing us where the hottest and coldest places in the province are currently located.

Just for fun, I have crunched the numbers for 2017 using all the 100 or so hourly reporting weather stations in the province to see how often each station was the provincial hot  spot. The numbers shocked me because I did not expect Warfield/Trail to be near the top of the list. I also expected Lillooet and Osoyoos to be closer to the top.

Anyway, here is a list of weather stations that managed to be the hottest place in the province at least once in 2017 (note that several towns have two stations for some reason, one airport station operated by NAV Canada one nearby by Environment Canada):

 

Ashcroft: 48 Squamish: 5 Terrace: 2
Warfield: 40 Victoria (UVic): 5 Victoria (airport): 2
Lytton (RCS station): 36 Abbotsford: 4 Bella Bella: 1
Osoyoos: 23 Burns Bog: 4 Comox: 1
Lillooet: 15 Victoria (Gonzales Hill): 4 Dawson Creek: 1
Kamloops (airport): 14 Agassiz: 3 Dease Lake (airport): 1
Kindakun Rocks: 14 Bonilla Island: 3 Dease Lake: 1
Estevan: 12 Kamloops (auto station): 3 Entrance: 1
Bella Coola: 10 Pemberton: 3 Fort Nelson: 1
Sheringham Point: 10 Port Mellon: 3 Fort Nelson (airport): 1
North Cowichan: 9 Princeton: 3 Kelowna (UBCO): 1
Race Rocks: 9 Sartine: 3 Merritt: 1
Solander Island: 9 Sisters Island: 3 Port Alberni: 1
Hope: 8 Cape St. James: 2 Quesnel: 1
Nelson: 8 Clearwater: 2 Salmon Arm: 1
White Rock: 8 Esquimalt: 2 Sandspit (airport): 1
Pitt Meadows: 7 HoweSound – Pam Rocks: 2 Sparwood: 1
Cumshewa Island: 6 Langara Island: 2 Vancouver (airport): 1
Creston: 5 Point Atkinson: 2 Vancouver(harbour): 1
Lytton (airport): 5 Prince Rupert: 2 Vernon: 1
Nakusp: 5 Puntzi Mountain: 2 West Vancouver: 1
Saturna Island: 5 Sandspit: 2

But here is the real shocker I discovered going a little deeper into the data. Various towns in the southwestern interior argue about who is the hottest place in Canada because they get such hot summers. These are the towns of Osoyoos, Lytton, Lillooet, and Ashcroft, and yet in 2017, Wafield in the Kootenays beat them all at the height of summer. In fact, this West Kootenay town was the provincial hotspot in 19 of July’s 31 days while no other town had more than five. If we only include the hot days in 2017 — say like only days were someone hits 30 degrees Celsius — the list looks like the following:

Warfield: 26
Ashcroft: 18
Lytton: 16
Nelson: 3
Kamloops: 3
Osoyoos: 3
Lillooet: 2
Hope: 2
Princeton: 2
Creston: 2
Nakusp: 2
Squamish: 1
Port Alberni: 1
Kelowna: 1
Pitt Meadows: 1

So Warfield was the hot spot 5 times more often during hot summer days than Lillooet and Osoyoos combined! Who would have thunk it!

The weather report on the radio also likes to list the coldest spot in the province, so for fun, I’ve conducted the same exercise by examining the daily lows in 2017, and the result is as follows:

Burns Lake: 63 Blue River: 7
Fort Nelson (airport): 52 Cranbrook: 6
Dease Lake: 47 Fort Nelson: 6
Tatlayoko Lake: 45 MacKenzie: 4
Yoho National Park: 40 Fort St. John: 3
Clinton: 30 Blackcomb Sliding Centre: 1
Puntzi Mountain: 30 Callaghan Valley: 1
Dease Lake (airport): 20 MacKenzie (airport): 1
Dawson Creek: 16 Prince George: 1
Sparwood: 13 Princeton: 1

One thing that jumps out at me is that Puntzi Mountain, Princeton, Dawson Creek, and Fort Nelson all managed to be the hottest and coldest spots in the province in 2017 at least once.

An important caveat with the cold list above is that it is not reflected by the temperatures given on the CBC in the afternoon since the table above reflects the overnight temperatures. For example, the Chilcotin stations (Tatlayoko Lake and Puntzi Mountain) have the highest diurnal temperature variations (difference between daily lows and highs) in the province by a wide margin such that Tatlayoko Lake is never the coldest place in the province in the afternoon because the temperature always warms up — even in the dead of winter. In fact, the afternoon temperatures in the winter months are warmer on average in Tatlayoko than they are in Osoyoos in many years!

So to better reflect the afternoon temperatures, the following table lists the number times each station had the lowest daily maximum temperature in BC in 2017:

Yoho National Park: 61 Blue River: 4
Fort Nelson  (airport): 46 Fort St. James: 4
Fort St. John: 33 Ootsa Lake: 4
Dease Lake (airport): 32 Puntzi Mountain: 4
Fort Nelson: 31 Clinton: 3
Dease Lake: 29 Grey Islet: 3
Cumshewa Island: 15 MacKenzie (airport): 3
Langara Island: 13 Cranbrook (airport): 2
Bonilla Island: 12 MacKenzie: 2
Sartine: 12 Race Rocks: 2
Lucy Island: 11 Smithers: 2
Blackcomb Sliding Centre: 10 Burns Lake: 1
Kindakun Rocks: 10 Dawson Creek: 1
Callaghan Valley: 9 Golden: 1
Solander Island: 9 Herbert Island: 1
Cape St. James: 8 Princeton: 1
Sheringham Point: 8 Rose Spit: 1
Clinton (airport): 7 Terrace: 1
Sparwood: 6 Williams Lake: 1
Cranbrook (auto station): 5

So based upon last year’s data, we would expect Ashcroft to be listed most often as the hottest spot in BC on CBC and Yoho National Park as the most frequent cold spot. I could be wrong, but I suspect that Warfield’s amazing domination during the summer months of 2017 was due to the smoke in the west (Thompson-Okanagan region) keeping the temperatures down, and not typical for the summer. In either case, it’s definitely one of the country’s hottest spots.

UPDATE: 2017 was indeed an anomaly for Warfield. Looking at the 2016 data, Warfield was the provincial hotspot for a mere 12 days — and 0 days in July! By contrast, Ashcroft was the BC hotspot for 71 days during the year, including 12 days in July.

For hot days over 30 degrees, the 2016 data looks like this:

Ashcroft: 17
Lytton: 14
Kamloops: 6
Osoyoos: 6
Pemberton: 5
Squamish: 4
Warfield: 3
Port Alberni: 2
Terrace: 1
Lillooet: 1
Nelson: 1
Penticton: 1
Kelowna: 1
Fort Nelson: 1
Delta: 1
Agassiz: 1

So the two year total for being the provincial hotspot during days over 30°C is as follows:

Ashcroft: 35
Lytton: 30
Warfield: 29
Kamloops: 9
Osoyoos: 9
Pemberton: 5
Squamish: 5
Port Alberni: 3
Nelson: 4
Lillooet: 3
Nakusp: 2
Kelowna: 2
Princton: 2
Delta: 1
Agassiz: 1
Penticton: 1
Fort Nelson: 1
Pitt Meadows: 1
Terrace: 1

 

 

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