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Weekend storm leaves record temperatures in its wake

A wet and windy weekend ushered in record temperatures in Chilliwack on Monday.

Warm Pacific winds brought temperatures to 11 degrees on Jan. 13 – the warmest minimum high for January since records started in 1896, reports Roger Pannett, volunteer weather observer with Environment Canada.

The double-digit heat (similar to an average evening temperature in early July, Pannett notes) shattered the previous record of 7.7 degrees set in 1994.

The average minimum temperature for January is -1.8 degrees.

The warm weather was a result of a powerful offshore system that brought a stormy weekend to the Fraser Valley. Strong winds knocked out power to thousands of Sardis residents Saturday morning and again Saturday evening, as trees and branches took out powerlines.

Other pockets of Chillwack were without power at different points throughout the weekend as BC Hydro crews raced to replace downed lines and blown transformers. At one point more than 20,000 Lower Mainland residents were without power.

More than 37 millimetres of rain fell on Saturday. That was less than the 50 mm forecast, and lower than the 51.8 mm record set in 1932.

Overall, rainfall amounts for January remain below average, Pannett said. Midway through January, Chilliwack has received 107.8 mm of rain. The total precipitation average for the month is 263.7 mm.

That follows a particularly dry December, Pannett said. Only 95 mm of total precipitation fell in the month, down sharply from the 294.4mm 30-year average.

Said Pannett: “With total precipitation over 67 per cent below normal it was the 15th  consecutive December with below normal precipitation and the driest since 1985.”

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