March 10, 2011
Despite its reputation as the “sunny Okanagan” and its boast of over 2000 hours of sunshine a year, Penticton skies can be pretty dreary in the winter. Located on a relatively small stretch of land between 2 sizeable lakes, with fairly steep mountainsides rising on both east and west sides, Penticton (like the rest of the Okanagan) experiences a lot of cloud in winter as evaporation rises from the lakes and forms clouds that are often trapped overhead for extended periods of time. So spring with its increasing sunshine is a welcome reminder that the famous sunny days of summer are not far off.
Spring days can be a real mixture of sun and clouds, as these photos, taken within a one hour period, attest. Mixed sun-and-cloud, thick cloud, splattery rain, and suddenly clear skies are quite typical spring weather here.
The mud-splattered school bus from Vernon, an hour and a half drive north up the Okanagan Valley, is a sure sign that warmer spring days are here, as students travel up and down the valley, and to points farther afield, for sports events and field trip explorations.
Folks are getting out and enjoying the sunshine for recreation and for work. Roofers are busy replacing or repairing worn rooftops as the surfaces are no longer covered with snow or buffeted by winter winds. School and park fields have lost their white coverings, and green shoots of fresh grass are pushing up between the crumpled brown blades left from last year. Scattered remains of snowmen, looking like some barren alien landscape covered with strange snow-henge type artifacts, have melted away, and the greening surfaces spread their arms wide, inviting hours of summer fun. Cats stretch out luxuriously in warm sunny spots, like windowsills of houses and cars, soaking up spring’s warming rays. Barren brown and gray branches begin to show signs of life, as buds sprout seemingly overnight, popping out their fresh soft green wisps. Bird nests, empty for many months, rest in the nooks of tree branches, anxiously awaiting returning winged creatures who will soon fill the nurseries with fresh, soft bedding, and then lay multicolored eggs. Surely the sound of new-born peeps will not be far off.
Spring has sprung!