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Temperature records broken in Whistler last weekend

Sadly sunny days gone for now with clouds moving in bringing weekend showers
SPRING BAKE The single day maximum temperature record for Sunday, March 31 was broken in Whistler and Squamish. Photo by Paul Morrison courtesy of Whistler Blackcomb

The rain may be moving in now but at least two temperature records fell last weekend in Sea to Sky country.

The maximum temperature recorded in Whistler, according to Environment Canada, was 19.7 Celsius on Sunday, March 31. That temperature beat the previous record set in 1991 when the mercury pushed up to a maximum of 18.1 on the final day of March that year.

While it was hot in Whistler it was even hotter in Squamish and the old temperature maximum dating back to 1987 was 20.8. The new record set on Sunday for Squamish is now set at 23.6 Celsius.

Environment Canada started tracking temperatures in Whistler and Squamish in 1977.

Amateur weather enthusiast Jason Ross follows Environment Canada data closely and reported that a ridge of high pressure set up along the west coast to create the warm conditions through the Easter long weekend.

"I think there was a blocking pattern so we were the closest to the ridge of high pressure," said Ross of the climatic conditions that set up the record temperatures. "On the surface we had an outflow wind blowing out of the interior in the morning and just before it switched around to inflow was when the temperature highs were broken."

Ross has been watching the snow data in Whistler and he noted that a significant amount of snow melted in Whistler during the warm weather.

"There was 30cm on the ground yesterday (Sunday) and I am more than certain I saw 44cm on the ground on Friday so things melted quite a bit," said Ross of the Environment Canada information he monitors.

As we move to the weekend the alpine forecast is calling for scattered wet flurries on Thursday with the freezing level dropping to 1,800 metres on Friday under mainly cloudy conditions with more wet flurries expected to bring up to five centimetres of snow above the elevation of the Roundhouse on Whistler, and Rendezvous on Blackcomb.

The avalanche risk in the backcountry to Wednesday, April 3 is rated at low to moderate.