Rain warning issued for Okanagan

Thunderstorms and hail are forecast for Tuesday, followed by heavy rains Wednesday through Thursday, warns meteorologist.

A rainfall warning is in effect for the Central Okanagan, with the possibility of thunderstorms and hail Tuesday afternoon and evening, and rain on Wednesday through Thursday.

Meteorologist Doug Lundquist with Environment Canada’s mountain weather services office, says there is a low pressure system moving in this afternoon, carrying moisture from the Texas gulf area, and it’s expected to drop a lot of rain in Alberta, and less in the South Central Interior of B.C.

Depending on where the centre of the storm is, there could be 25 to 40 millimetres of rain here, but if the system moves just 100 kilometres north of here, it could even be dry in the Okanagan, he said.

The wettest part of the system is expected to pass through this area Wednesday through Thursday evening, with more rain at higher elevations, he said.

And, the heaviest rains are expected in the Similkameen, Nicola, South Thompson and in the Monashees east to the Kootenays, as well as in the foothills of the Rockies, said Lundquist.

By Friday, the system should be through and a Western ridge of drier weather is expected to go through over the weekend, he said.

Okanagan Lake is currently five centimetres below what’s called full pool, or the target level, and Des Anderson, section head for Public Safety and Protection, natural resource operations ministry, says they increased the discharge of water Tuesday afternoon from Okanagan Lake o make room for more inflow to the lake .

He says it will depend on the size of the event and widespread the storm is, whether there’s any flooding as a result of it.

Melting snowpack is no longer a concern in the Okanagan, he said.

Central Okanagan emergency services coordinator Jason Brolund noted that June is normally a very wet month in the Okanagan.

He advised that people living near small to medium-sized streams be award heavy rains could cause them to rise and anyone living near Okanagan Lake should also be prepared for rising water levels.

Last year, in late June, the lake’s level peaked at 15 cm above full pool, and Brolund is hopeful it won’t reach that level this year.

 

jsteeves@kelownacapnews.com

 

 

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