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On the coast, rainfall, sometimes relentless heavy rain dominates in winter because of consistent barrages of cyclonic low-pressure systems from the North Pacific, but on occasion (and not every winter) heavy snowfalls and below freezing temperatures arrive when modified arctic air reaches coastal areas, typically for short periods. Opposite of that, coastal areas are generally milder and dry during summer under the influence of stable anti-cyclonic high pressure. Southern Interior valleys are hot; for example in Osoyoos the July maximum temperature averages 31.7 °C (89 °F) the hottest month of any place in Canada, this hot weather sometimes spreads towards the coast or to the far north of the province. Temperatures often exceed 40 °C (104 °F) in the lower elevations of interior valleys during mid-summer, with the record high of 44.4 °C (111.9 °F) being held in Lytton on July 16, 1941.
The Okanagan region has a climate suitable to vineyards.
The extended summer dryness often creates conditions that spark forest fires, from dry-lightning or man-made causes. Many areas of the province are often covered by a blanket of heavy cloud and low fog during the winter months, despite abundant summer sunshine. Annual sunshine hours vary from 2200 near Cranbrook and Victoria to less than 1300 in Prince Rupert, located on the North Coast, just south of the Alaska Panhandle.
The exception to British Columbia's wet and cloudy winters is El Niño. During this phase, the jet stream is much further south across North America, therefore winters are milder and drier than normal. Winters are much wetter and cooler under the opposite phase, La Niña.
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