Kamloops is a city in south central British Columbia in Canada, located at the confluence of the two branches of the Thompson River near Kamloops Lake. It is the largest community in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and the location of the regional district’s offices. The surrounding region is more commonly referred to as the Thompson Country. It is ranked 37th on the list of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in Canada and represents the 44th largest census agglomeration nationwide, with 85,678 residents in 2011.
The climate of Kamloops is semi-arid due to its rain shadow location. Because of milder winters and aridity, the area west of Kamloops in the lower Thompson River valley falls within Köppen climate classification BWk climate. Kamloops gets short cold snaps where temperatures can drop to around ?20°C (?4°F) when Arctic air manages to cross the Rockies and Columbia Mountains into the Interior.
The January mean temperature is ?2.8°C (27°F). That average sharply increases with an average maximum temperature of 4.3°C (40°F) in February. The average number of days below ?10°C (14°F) per year is 19.9 as recorded by Environment Canada.
Although Kamloops is located above 50° north latitude, summers are warmer than in many places at lower latitudes, with prevailing dry and sunny weather. Daytime humidity is generally under 40% in the summer, sometimes dropping below 20% after a dry spell, which allows for substantial nighttime cooling. Occasional summer thunderstorms can create dry-lightning conditions, sometimes igniting forest fires which the area is prone to.
Kamloops lies in the rain shadow leeward of the Coast Mountains and is biogeographically connected to similar semi-desert areas in the Okanagan region, and a much larger area covering the central/eastern portions of Washington, Oregon and intermontane areas of Nevada, Utah and Idaho in the US.
These areas of relatively similar climate have many distinctive native plants and animals in common, such as ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), prickly pear cactus (Opuntia fragilis in this case), rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis), black widow spiders and Lewis’s woodpecker.
The hottest temperature ever recorded at the airport, 40.7°C (105°F), occurred on 13 July 2014; the hottest reliably accurate temperature ever recorded within the city, 41.7°C (107°F), occurred first on 27 July 1939 and again two years later on 16 July 1941.