Hot Sands Beach

The temperature of Okanagan Lake has risen about four degrees this week and now sits at more than 18.5 C, Environment Canada says. Saturday is the first day of summer and there's lots of sun and even warmer weather on the way.

Who needs California dreamin'?

Okanagan Lake is now almost as warm as the Pacific Ocean in Southern California.

A thermometer attached to the W.R. Bennett bridge (with live readings viewable at wateroffice.ec.gc.ca) indicated the lake's temperature was 18.5 C on Friday afternoon, up four degrees from earlier this week.

That was just one degree cooler than the popular ocean swimming areas in Santa Monica, Calif. according to the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Information.

Summer officially begins Saturday at 2:43 p.m. After that minute, the days start to get shorter. But since the northern hemisphere continues to warm even after the passage of the summer solstice, the warmest time of the year in the Okanagan is generally the end of July and early August.

Our lake's temperature usually peaks at about 24 C in the height of summer. Occasionally, as in August 2017, it gets warmer than the waters of the Mediterranean.

The British Outdoor Swimming Society suggests lakes and rivers have a water temperature of at least 17 C before people go for a dip.

At colder temperatures, even if you survive a phenomenon known as cold-water shock (which is the involuntary gasping that draws water into the lungs) after diving in, you can lose control of your arms and legs within 10 minutes.

The lake should continue warming as the forecast for the first week of summer, after a showery Saturday with highs of just 21 C, portends lots of sun with air temperatures nudging 30 C by next weekend.