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Weather & driving / Canadian Rockies - October

Weather & driving / Canadian Rockies - October

Jun 27th, 2005, 12:50 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 83
Weather & driving / Canadian Rockies - October


We will be traveling to the Canadian Rockies for approx 10 days in early October.

What is the weather like at this time of year?

We are planning to hire a car at this time, is this a good idea or will many of the roads be snowed in ?

Any advice is appreciated

freddofrog04 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 01:40 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 615
Early October you could get anything from crisp mornings and warm sunny afternoons to bitter cold sleet and snow. There's absolutely no way to predict one over the other even a few days beforehand never mind a few months.
GaryA is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 03:29 PM
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It's very unlikely that there will be bitter cold and sleet/snow in early October. Although it wouldn't be a total surprise to get a dump of wet snow, it usually means that an unexpected cold front has moved in and the temperatures are well below average. It doesn't get "bitterly cold" that early in the season, and snow isn't normally expected during the first two weeks.

Even when there is precipitation, it will rain at lower elevations and snow at higher elevations (so when the clouds move away you will see that the mountain tops are covered in a blazingly white layer of snow).

October is a transition month - the season is changing from autumn to early winter. It is much warmer at the beginning of October than the end of October, so the monthly average temperature is a bit misleading.
The average high for all month is 10C (50F), but the record high is 26.5C (80F), and that was set in the first week of October a few years ago.

Actually early October is a beautiful time in the Rockies because it is quieter than the summer season but all the attractions are still open, and you will get some of the golden colours of autumn. The roads will be less crowded and so the driving is much easier.
Borealis is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 06:20 PM
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Excuse me Bourealis but as a Vancouver native anything much below -5C is bitter cold to me, especially when it's accompanied by driving snow, and I've been in Banf in September, (albeit late September), when it's been that cold. Course to an Canadian from East of BC bitter cold means anything below -20C so i understand.
GaryA is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 07:27 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Well Gary snow in September is not normal at the lower elevations. If it happens, it is usually record setting. There have been 30C (86F) days in September too, but they are no more representative than the snowy days are.

Although it can snow in October, it doesn't usually do this until past mid-month, and not every year will have snow that early. Some years the snow does not arrive until well into November.
In the past decade there have been more and more years where the ski hills have had to delay their opening date (which is usually sometime in late November or December) because of lack of snow.
I have spent many a Thanksgiving weekend in the Rockies (both Jasper and Banff) where the daytime temperatures were delightfully warm, short sleeve weather.
The nights however, are cold and frosty.
What purpose does it serve to describe October in the Rockies as snowy and bitterly cold, especially when that is not the normal weather for that month?

Would you think that it was a fair assessment of Vancouver's weather if I said that because I was in Vancouver one December and so much snow fell at the time that it closed the city down, and therefore all Decembers in Vancouver must be like that? You have to admit that has happened, but how likely is it for any particular year??

Let's strive for a bit of accuracy here please.

Thank you.
Borealis is offline  

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