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108-year-old temperature record broken during B.C. storm

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The atmospheric river that battered southern B.C. Monday and Tuesday brought with it a mass of warm air that led to record high temperatures in nine communities across the province, including one city where the previous record had stood for 108 years.

That city was Quesnel, where the mercury hit 10.2 C on Tuesday, making it the hottest Dec. 5 since record-keeping began in the area in 1893. The previous record was 8.9 C, set more than a century ago in 1915.

Quesnel's record was the oldest broken Tuesday, but it was not the warmest. That distinction went to White Rock, where temperatures hit 13.6 C, just a tenth of a degree hotter than the previous record of 13.5 C, set back in 1987.

The other seven high temperature records set Tuesday, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada, were as follows:

  • Clinton area: New record of 6.5 C, old record of 4.1 C set in 2003
  • Gibsons area: New record of 12.7 C, old record of 11.1 C set in 1965
  • Malahat area: New record of 11.1 C, old record of 9 C set in 1987
  • Puntzi Mountain area: New record of 4.3 C, old record of 4 C set in 2015
  • Sechelt area: New record of 12.7 C, old record of 11 C set in 1981
  • Victoria area: New record of 13.5 C, old record of 13.3 C set in 1925
  • Williams Lake area: New record of 7.8 C, old record of 6.1 C set in 1965

The records listed are "derived from a selection of historical stations in each geographic area that were active during the period of record," according to ECCC.

This week's storm brought heavy rain and strong winds to the South Coast, causing localized flash flooding in Metro Vancouver on Monday.

According to Environment Canada, the highest rainfall totals in the province were recorded at Kennedy Lake Highway Station on Vancouver Island, where 132 millimetres fell, and at Port Mellon on the Sunshine Coast, where 126 millimetres were recorded.

Farther up Howe Sound, Squamish saw 112 millimetres, while Mission led the Fraser Valley with 97.

In the Interior, where precipitation was still ongoing in some places at the time of ECCC's midday update Wednesday, the highest totals were in the Kootenays, with Morrissey seeing 124 millimetres and Kootenay Pass 120.

The highest snowfall totals from the storm were at Rogers Pass and Chappel Creek, where 22 and 17-to-23 centimetres fell, respectively.

The maximum wind gust recorded during the storm was 150 kilometres per hour at Sartine Island, an uninhabited ecological reserve off the northwest coast of Vancouver Island. 

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