Rain rinses drought potential

Any thought of there being a drought in Vernon has been washed out by the recent weather

Any thought of there being a drought in Vernon has been washed out by the recent weather.

Compared to the same time last year, when little rain was felt, summer 2016 is shaping up to be a wet one.

In fact, July alone has seen 41.7 milimetres of rain fall in the first 19 days.

“Fifteen of those 19 days was recorded precipitation,” said Armel Castellan, meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada (a new name delivered with the Liberal government).

“Whereas on average in the past you guys have seen nine or 10 days with precipitation.”

The region has also been cooler than average.

“Zero days measured have gone above 30,” said Castellan.

“And you typically have 10.7 days.”

Therefore drought isn’t in the immediate forecast, according to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources (FLNR).

“The ongoing wet and cool weather has given a boost to flows and is helping to maintain cooler stream temperatures,” said Shauna Weir, area executive divisional coordinator for FLNR.

“Drought levels have been downgraded to Level 1 (least risk) in most of the Thompson Okanagan.”

But aside from extreme high elevations, the majority of the snowpack is now gone. Therefore stream flows are dependent almost entirely upon precipitation. But the region has been receiving regular rain.

“We are not actively watching any particular stream as flows are well above critical thresholds. In contrast, at this time last year we were actively watching over 50 regional streams and there had been numerous reports of temperature-related fish kills,” said Weir.

“The drought outlook is more positive to date than this time last year.”