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Warm weather shatters temperature records in early spring across B.C.

Vancouver's Kitsilano Beach was packed on Saturday as warm weather records were shattered across B.C. (CBC - image credit)
Vancouver's Kitsilano Beach was packed on Saturday as warm weather records were shattered across B.C. (CBC - image credit)

Weather records in several communities were shattered this weekend as warm temperatures moved in across much of British Columbia.

Environment Canada says a high-pressure ridge brought an early start to spring, breaking or tying daily maximum temperature records in at least 38 communities, according to preliminary reports.

Temperatures reached the low 20s in several inland communities on Sunday, including 21.5 C in Abbotsford, 22.2 C in Osoyoos, 22.5 C in Princeton and 22.8 C in Quesnel, the forecaster said.

Merritt was the warmest place in Canada on Sunday, hitting a maximum of 23.2 C.

Meanwhile, Dawson Creek saw its warmest March 17 on record as it reached almost 21 C, smashing the record of 12.8 C in 1930.

Closer to the water, record daytime highs reached the high teens. A 77-year-old daily temperature record was broken in Victoria on Saturday (19 C), while West Vancouver saw a high of 18.9 C.

"The forecasted temperatures are anywhere from about five to 12 degrees above normal, so this is significant warmth coming to the province," Environment Canada meteorologist Lisa Ervin told CBC News on Saturday.

The warmer temperatures are expected to last until Monday, according to the agency's forecasts.

While Vancouver's high of 19 C on Saturday didn't break any records, many residents were still out enjoying the sun at the city's Kitsilano Beach with some spring in their step.

Emily Poncini enjoys warm weather and sunshine at Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver on Saturday, March 16, 2023.
Emily Poncini enjoys warm weather and sunshine at Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver on Saturday, March 16, 2023.

Emily Poncini enjoys warm weather and sunshine at Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver on Saturday. (CBC)

Emily Poncini was having a picnic with friends who, like her, are from the "Sunshine State" of Queensland, Australia.

"The sun was out today so we were like, 'Let's get amongst it. It's beautiful,'" said Poncini. "We're very excited to be seeing the sun again ... it's time for spring."

Further down the sidewalk, Howard Kelsey was tanning on the deck of the Kitsilano Showboat with friends.

"We've been doing this for decades," said Kelsey. "If you're not sheltered from the wind the temperature will drop ... this is an ideal place to get sun.

"This is about as spectacular as it gets for March."

Both Kelsey and Poncini said they were trying to make the most of the warm weather — even though its early arrival made them nervous for the environmental impacts, including warnings of early snowmelt contributing to avalanches and another summer of drought.

"It's not a good sign for the environment is it, but we'll take it," said Poncini.

Temperatures were forecasted to reach up to 21 C in Prince George on Sunday, and many walked along the nearly empty Fraser/Nechako riverbed in the sunshine.
Temperatures were forecasted to reach up to 21 C in Prince George on Sunday, and many walked along the nearly empty Fraser/Nechako riverbed in the sunshine.

Temperatures topped 20 C in Prince George on Sunday, and many walked along the nearly empty Fraser/Nechako riverbed in the sunshine. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)