Joe Rich Weather

Weather is important everywhere, and in Joe Rich it is particularly important to those trying to farm or even grow a garden. It’s important too, if your driveway is steep and it’s a snowy winter morning. Howard and Gerry Demitor have had a keen interest in Joe Rich as a viable farming area and have concluded that for most crop production Joe Rich is marginal at best because of its very short growing season. We have just too few frost-free days each summer.

Demitors and Weddells can only produce one crop of hay per year while many Okanagan Valley bottom farms produce three crops a year. Even lettuce growing in Joe Rich only thrived because farmers here could produce lettuce, a cool weather crop, after other areas had become too hot. Even though lettuce crops made money, each year 25% to 50% of the lettuce heads were eventually nipped by Jack Frost. Turnips did better, but even they are held back by Joe Rich’s short growing season. Should any of Joe Rich be in the Agricultural Land Reserve? Some don’t think it should.

Weather records have been collected for the federal weather office in Joe Rich since 1928; first by Jack Findlay and then by old Mr. Philpott. In 1946, the Weddells took over; Mary Weddell, then Gavin, then Jeannie and Shelagh, and now Cam for the past twenty years. We seldom see the results, but a phone call to the Canadian Weather Office, Kelowna Branch and a little kind research on their part yielded the following weather statistics about Joe Rich.

It is important to realize several facts in regard to these statistics. First, the data is collected at Weddell’s place on Joe Rich Creek and the weather statistics there will be a little different than for other sites such as the Philpott Valley, the upper part of Goudie Road or particularly Uppenborn’s place which is probably colder and wetter. Pat Russell has kept records of last and first frosts for years. Over a period of twenty years, her temperatures are a few degrees lower and her frosts a little later and earlier than Birch’s and they are only a kilometre apart. Altitude, the slope of the land, proximity to a creek and even trees make a difference. Secondly, the data for Kelowna comes from the airport which tends to be colder and sunnier (a little closer to Joe Rich weather) than the lakeshore area. Thirdly, these statistics are averages over a long period (1959 to 1990 for Kelowna and 1928 to 1990 for Joe Rich) and it is not averages that kill your garden. It is isolated low temperatures which may occur even when the average is well above freezing.

 

Kelowna

Joe Rich

Yearly Average Daily Maximum Temprtature

13.8

11.2

Monthly Highest Average Daily MaximumTemperature

July

27.6

July & August

24.4

Yearly Average Daily Minimum Temperature

January

-4.5

January

-6.7

Usual Frost Free Months

April – September

May – September

Total Precipitation per year

366.4mm

579.4mm

Monthly Highest Average Precipitation

June

December

36.9mm

37.6mm

May

June

59.8mm

65.5mm

Range of Other Monthly Average Precipitations

21.9mm to 37.6 mm

37.2mm to 56.3mm

Yearly Snowfall

105.5 cm

172.9cm

Number of Days with Precipitation per year

129

139

Number of Days with Snowfall per year

40

48

Monthly Highest Hours of Bright Sunshine

July

311 Hours

Monthly Lowest Hours of Bright Sunshine

December

41 Hours

Historically, there is no month of the year when on some year the temperature has not dropped below freezing in Joe Rich. Sad news for gardeners! Although the weather office lists May, June, July, August, and September as ‘usual frost free months’ in Joe Rich, for the gardener watching for frost on the ground this is not the case for most of our area. Pat Russell has kept careful records since the 1960s. Birches have paid attention since the 1980s. We both agree that on average the last frost occurs in the first days of June and the first frost comes in the first days of September, but there is wide variation.

We do not have records of the number of hours of bright sunshine in Joe Rich per month. However, in general the trend is probably the same as in Kelowna with the exceptions that (1) Joe Rich has less overcast in the winter when the presence of the lake leads to cloud formation over Kelowna and (2) Joe Rich has slightly fewer hours of bright sunshine in summer, because of more afternoon and evening thunder clouds during the hot weather. Therefore, Joe Rich has a little more winter sun and a little less summer sun than Kelowna.

These statistics show the Joe Rich temperature to be about 2 ½ degrees Centigrade colder than Kelowna. Many residents of Joe Rich think that we are 3 to 5 degrees colder than Kelowna. These government statistics are much more reliable than our impressions, but the areas which they are comparing (the Kelowna Airport and Weddells) may not be the same as the ones we are more aware of.

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