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The Okanagan area is one of several wine-producing regions in Canada and also produces ciders; extending from near Vernon to Osoyoos at the US border. Other wine regions in British Columbia include the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, and the Fraser Valley both exhibit more coastal influence. The souther interior cities of Kamloops and Penticton have some of the warmest and longest summer climates in Canada, although their temperature can be exceeded north of the Fraser Canyon, close to the confluence of the Fraser and Thompson River where the terrain is rugged and covered with desert type fauna. Semi-desert grassland is found on plateaus in region, with uses ranging from ranching to forestry at higher altitudes.
The northern two-thirds of the province is largely unpopulated and undeveloped, and is mostly mountainous except east of the Rockies, where the Peace River District, in the northeast of the province contains BC's portion of the Canadian Prairies centred at Dawson Creek.
Strait of Georgia, near Vancouver.
With origins from the Kuroshio Current (also known as the Japan Current) which merges into the North Pacific Ocean drift current giving coastal British Columbia its mild, rainy oceanic climate, verging on dry-summer mediterranean, subtropical in small pockets. Due to the blocking presence of successive mountain ranges, the climate of the interior of the province is semi-arid with certain locations receiving less than 250 mm (10") in annual precipitation. The annual mean temperature in the most populated areas of the province is up to 12 °C (54 °F), the mildest anywhere in Canada.
Southern interior valleys have short winters with only brief bouts of cold or infrequent heavy snow, while those in the Cariboo, in the Central Interior, are colder because of increased altitude and latitude, but without the intensity or duration experienced at similar latitudes elsewhere in Canada. For example, the average overnight low in Prince George (roughly located in the middle of the province) in January is −12 °C (10 °F). Heavy snowfall occurs in all elevated mountainous terrain providing bountiful bases for skiers in both south and central BC. Winters are generally severe in the northern interior, but even there milder air can penetrate far inland. The coldest temperature in British Columbia was recorded in Smith River, where it dropped to −58.9 °C (−74 °F), one