The Okanagan's Climate

The climate of the Okanagan Basin is somewhat less continental than the rest of the interior of the Province. The warm summers with fairly low humidities along with the relatively mild winters provide an attractive environment for agriculture and recreation.

The temperature is best described as being of the mild continental type. In the valley summers are warm with hot days and cool nights. Winters are much milder than areas east of the valley. In Kelowna mean maximum temperatures vary from 0.0 degrees in January to 27.9 degrees in July. Thus about one third of mid summer days are tropical in nature (maximum temperature greater than 30 degrees) and thaws occur at valley bottom on about half of the days in January.


Temperatures in Celsius

Month Daily Max. Daily Min. Mean Extreme Max. Extreme Min.
January 0.0 -6.5 -3.3 12.2 -31.1
February 4.0 -4.1 -0.1 17.2 -28.3
March 8.0 -1.8 3.3 21.1 .22.2
April 14.5 2.0 8.3 27.8 -9.4
May 20.1 6.5 13.3 33.9 -3.9
June 23.9 10.5 17.2 35.6 -1.1
July 27.9 12.9 20.4 38.9 3.3
August 26.8 12.1 19.5 36.1 0.6
September 21.1 7.6 14.3 33.9 -5.6
October 13.6 2.6 8.1 25.6 -10.0
November 6.3 -1.1 2.6 18.3 -22.8
December 2.3 -3.7 -0.7 14.4 -24.4


The Valley lies in a zone of transition between the wet coastal climate (with its winter maximum of precipitation) and the truly continental climate further to the east (with its strong summer peak in precipitation). The rain shadow effect of the coast mountains is most strongly felt in the south-western portions of the Valley; with increasing precipitation found to the north and east.

Precipitation vs. Sunshine

Month Rain (mm) Snow (mm) Days Rain Days Snow Sunshine (hrs.)
January 6.6 30.4 3 9 44
February 12.0 14.7 5 4 69
March 12.3 5.8 6 1 134
April 14.8 5.8 4 0 203
May 25.2 0.0 7 0 237
June 31.1 0.0 7 0 271
July 23.5 0.0 4 0 311
August 27.5 0.0 6 0 259
September 29.0 0.0 7 0 205
October 24.6 .5 7 0 150
November 16.0 12.8 7 2 58
December 12.0 31.7 5 7 41
Year 234.6 96.9 68 23 1981

 

The Okanagan is characterized by cool humid air and cloudy skies in the winter, and by dry air with bright skies in summer. The mean annual hours of bright sunshine in the Central Okanagan is just under 2000. Relative humidity drops from mean winter values of 80% to 50% in summer. Areas of highest relative humidity are generally found along the lakeshore and at night in local hollows and low lying areas. The frost free period varies greatly throughout the valley; being greatest along the lakeshore and on sloping terrain. Otherwise, low lying areas and hollows are known to have a shorter frost free period.

Compiled by the Kelowna Weather Office - Environment Canada

 

Four Seasons Playground

 

SUMMER

Our climate provides dry warm weather in the summer months which is perfect for a wide variety of water sports - including water-skiing, sail-boarding and swimming. The fine sandy beaches offer a great place to spend the day; all have picnic tables, shade trees and plenty of sunshine. As evening approaches soft breezes entice the visitor to stroll on the beach, or enjoy the local night life. Kelowna’s many quality restaurants offer a variety of fine dining experiences.

FALL

Known as Canada’s fruit basket (where much of Canada’s choicest fruits and vegetables are grown) we are situated in the heart of the west's wine country. The valley’s climate approximates the northern regions of France and the Rhine land. The Okanagan Valley is much like the famed Napa Valley - sharing similar soil, climate and growing conditions. High on the hilltops many wineries offer scenic tours featuring spectacular views of Okanagan Lake and the surrounding countryside.

 WINTER

Kelowna is one of the best powder skiing areas in Western Canada - featuring downhill and cross country at Big White Mountain 40 minutes from Kelowna. Heli-skiing is a short distance away in the Caribou and Monashee mountain ranges. With an average temperatures of "0" degrees (Celsius) varied winter sports become a pleasure. Some of the local hotels offer ski packages and off-season rates that make a winter holiday very economical. Winter activities include Jr. Hockey tournaments, curling bon spiels, skating, snow-mobiling and ice fishing.

 SPRING

The fragrance of the fruit blossoms drifts through the orchards in spring. Excellent fishing in Okanagan Lake and the many smaller surrounding lakes makes spring a good time of the year to test your prowess at landing a tasty Lake Trout or Kokanee. Hike or horseback ride on a mountain trail and catch the fragrance of Ponderosa pines and see the many different wildlife species which inhabit the area.


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