top of page

El Niño Winters in the Thompson-Nicola

One phenomenon that significantly influences the local Thompson-Nicola climate is El Niño, a climate event characterized by the warming of sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. In this blog post, we delve into the intriguing effects of El Niño on winters in the region and how residents and nature alike respond to these changes.

Understanding El Niño:

El Niño, part of the larger El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate pattern, can profoundly impact global weather systems. During an El Niño event, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures disrupt normal atmospheric circulation patterns, leading to altered precipitation and temperature patterns worldwide.

El Niño's Influence on Thompson-Nicola Winters:

  1. Warmer Temperatures:

  • El Niño tends to bring milder temperatures to the region during the winter months.

  • Here at Wildlings Resort, we are still seeing temps cold enough to freeze the lake and ice thick enough for fishing, but daytime highs are around 0 or slightly above.

  1. Reduced Snowfall:

  • One of the notable effects of El Niño in the Thompson-Nicola region is a decrease in snowfall.

  • Lower snow accumulation can impact winter sports enthusiasts and the local economy, particularly if snow-dependent activities are a significant part of the region's identity.

  • At the resort, we are currently enjoying the break from plowing and shovelling snow, however, a few feet more would be nicer on the snowmobiles.

  1. Increased Precipitation:

  • While El Niño is generally associated with drier conditions in some parts of the world, the Thompson-Nicola region may experience increased precipitation.

  • This could manifest as more rain and less snow, affecting water resources and potentially leading to issues such as flooding or landslides.

  • Let's hope this proves to be true, without the snow to replenish water sources rain will be needed desperately.

  1. Ecological Impacts:

  • Fluctuations in winter weather patterns can have cascading effects on the local ecosystem.

  • Wildlife accustomed to specific winter conditions may face challenges adapting to the warmer and potentially unpredictable weather associated with El Niño.

Adaptation and Preparedness:

  1. Water Resource Management:

  • Local authorities may need to adjust water resource management strategies to account for potential changes in precipitation patterns.

  • Communities might also focus on water conservation measures to mitigate the impact of reduced snowpack on water availability.

  • For the last few years, we have worked closely with the Ministry of Forests and the local ranchers to best manage the lake levels to balance recreation, irrigation needs and suitable flow rates for migrating salmon.

  1. Winter Recreation Industry:

  • Businesses and communities reliant on winter tourism may need to diversify their offerings or develop contingency plans to navigate the variability in snow conditions during El Niño events.

  • The Stake Lake cross-country area is currently closed due to a lack of snow. While we don't groom cross-country trails near Wildlings, we are lucky to have enough snow for touring equipment.

  • Due to higher elevation, snowmobiling is possible in our area on the forest service roads, not quite enough snow for boondocking though.

  1. Wildlife Conservation:

  • Conservation efforts may need to adapt to ensure the well-being of local wildlife affected by changes in habitat and food availability.

  • Monitoring and research initiatives can help gather valuable data on how fauna responds to shifting climate patterns.

  • More needs to be done to protect wildlife populations from the challenges they face adapting to the new climate.


El Niño's influence on winters in the Thompson-Nicola region showcases the interconnectedness of global climate phenomena and local ecosystems. While El Niño brings unique challenges, it also offers opportunities for adaptation and resilience. By understanding these effects, residents, businesses, and conservationists can work together to build a more resilient and sustainable future for the Thompson-Nicola region in the face of a changing climate. Let us know what you are doing instead of your usual winter activities.

44 views0 comments


bottom of page