Weatherman has little faith in folklore

Ron Lakeman has science and schooling behind him so he’s not putting much faith in whether Wiarton Willie saw his shadow or not on Thursday.

Ron Lakeman has science and schooling behind him so he’s not putting much faith in whether Wiarton Willie saw his shadow or not on Thursday.

The Southeast Fire Centre forecaster could only laugh at the weather predictions based on the musings of a rodent prognosticator.

“It’s probably the weakest of the weather folklore,” he said on Groundhog Day, where celebrity groundhogs around North America predict an early or late spring.

“The media loves it. But as far as any validity, I don’t have any faith in it.”

For the record, Wiarton Willie didn’t see his shadow, which means an early spring.

Instead, Lakeman, using science, satellite images and patterns as his reference points, cautioned the region could still be in for an extended winter if the expected La Nina delivers as predicted at the outset of the season.

“There’s still a possibility,” he said.

Lakeman pointed to last year’s weather pattern where La Nina delivered cool temperatures and heavy snowfall in March. That month in 2011 saw a record 28 days of precipitation.

That said, he predicts little in the way of significant precipitation for the beginning of February.

“The first half of February looks rather dull. There’s a high-pressure system building similar to the one we had in early December. We could get off lucky.”

Of course luck depends on whom you ask. The ski resorts would rather see more snow in the forecast coming off a January that saw slightly below-normal snowfall.

Red Mountain Resort recorded 90cm of snow on its charts in January compared to 112cm for the same period in 2011.

Its best day last month was Jan. 21 when 15cm blanketed the slopes.

Meanwhile, the Castlegar weather office measured a total of 48.4 cm of snow during the month, of which 18cm fell on Jan. 20-21.

However, only 6.7mm of rain fell, almost a quarter of the normal rainfall, as mild temperatures arrived at the end of the month, which included a high of 7.4C on Jan. 25.

The coldest day came on Jan. 11 when the mercury dropped to -13.4C when the entire province was caught in an icy grip.

Lakeman said the arctic system covered most the Pacific region.

“But we were sparred compared to the rest of B.C.”

Trail Daily Times