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Hello, summer: Sunny skies, 30 C set for Okanagan as new season starts

Temperatures to be around 6 C warmer-than-normal to start summer
Skaha Beach in Penticton. (John Arendt/Black Press)

An early blast of warmth is expected to mark the official start of summer in B.C.'s Southern Interior.

Environment Canada says Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton and Salmon Arm will experience warmer-than-normal temperatures starting Friday, June 21, with daytime highs set to reach close to 30 C.

The average temperature in the region on the first day of meteorological summer is 24 C, according to the federal forecaster.

This weekend's forecast, which also includes sunny skies and high of 20 C temperatures on Saturday and Sunday, marks the start of what's expected to be a warmer-than-normal season. It also puts a wrap on the periodic moments of "much-needed" precipitation that had been seen to start June, says Environment Canada and Climate Change meteorologist Bobby Sekhon.

"The fact of that matter is, we're in a multi-season drought and it's going to take a lot more rain than what we've seen to catch up from it," Sekhon said.

As B.C.'s drought persists, communities across the Okanagan have experienced rainfall on several days in June.

It's a welcomed sign for the region, Sekhon adds, after a drier-than-normal spring limited Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton to only 59, 66, and 74 per cent of their normal precipitation marks from March to May.

But as the weeks pass and concerns over agriculture and wildfires amplify, the meteorologist says the Okanagan needs to see much more rain to alleviate those worries.

"In Kelowna, we've seen 24 millimetres of precipitation in June, but the normal for the month is about 46 millimetres," Sekhon said. "In the short term, it's going to be nice to enjoy the weather in the Okanagan, but that June rainfall sets the scene for forest fire potential, agriculture and other factors moving forward.

"We really rely on the rain to set the pace for the summer...we've gotten some, which is nice, but seeing how we may not get it for the next few days is concerning."

Long-term outlooks from Environment Canada indicate that it will be a warmer-than-normal summer, Sekhon says.

In the short term, communities across the Interior can expect to see temperatures range between 25 C and 30, from June 21 through to Wednesday, June 26.

"Unfortunately, though, it doesn't look like there's a whole lot of precipitation in the forecast," the meteorologist added.

About the Author: Logan Lockhart

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