The few days of warm sunshine we’ve so far enjoyed in the Cariboo have been a welcome break from grey cloud, chilly temperatures, rain and even more snow.
The warm weather makes us want to shed some layers, get outside and scream from the rooftops, spring is here!
Spring officially arrived this week – on Tuesday, March 20 – but we may not be setting out the barbecues and pulling on our shorts anytime soon.
Meteorologists are predicting cooler than normal temperatures this spring, so the snowbanks won’t be disappearing as quickly as some may like, and indeed, we here in the Cariboo continue to see yet more snowfall.
But while it may hinder our social lives, the moderate temperatures and slow melt is a blessing in terms of our environment. You’ll probably have noticed on the few days we have had warmer temperatures – we had up to 10 or 12 degrees Celsius last weekend – how quickly the snow melts away. The few patches of grass that have been uncovered are sodden.
A slow melt will reduce the risk of flooded basements and riverbanks, and landslides caused by fast-flowing run-off.
Not only that, a cooler spring could help our chances of reducing the number and extremity of wildfires in our dry months – and last year’s fires are still at the forefront of most people’s minds, as many still struggle with the aftermath of lost property or income.
As the River Forecast Centre told the Observer last week (see the Mar. 14 edition), while there is a higher than average snow pack in the mountains, it’s still within typical range, at 108 per cent of normal. Higher snow pack will help to keep our dry season from arriving too early, but it can only stave it off for so long. We need the moderate spring temperatures to help with that.
So the flip-flops, and even the summer tires, may stay in storage a few weeks longer than we’d like, but in the meantime, perhaps we can use our time wisely, beginning some extensive spring clean-up of potential wildfire fuel – dry and dead brush, fallen trees, etc. – on our properties, and getting a solid plan in place in the event that this summer ends up like last year. The City and CRD are also making plans for such necessary clean-up to crown land, with one plan in the review stages with UBCM (see page A4).
We may want balmy weather and sunshine sooner rather than later – but I’m sure most can agree that more than anything, we’re hoping for an altogether uneventful fire season.
Quesnel Cariboo Observer