Severe thunderstorm watch issued

Environment Canada is keeping its eyes on Okanagan skies for the potential of a severe thunderstorm

  • May. 21, 2013 1:00 p.m.

Environment Canada is keeping its eyes on Okanagan skies for the potential of a severe thunderstorm.

A thunderstorm watch has been issued for the entire Okanagan Valley and Shuswap for this afternoon and evening.

“This is an alert to the potential development of severe thunderstorms with large hail and damaging winds,” states the alert from Environment Canada.

“Monitor weather conditions..listen for updated statements. If threatening weather approaches take immediate safety precautions.”

The alert has culminated from an upper low pressure system situated off the South Coast of British Columbia this morning which is forecast to give significant rainfall amounts to sections of the Interior. Moisture that is wrapping around this system will continue to affect the B.C. Peace region through much of today although the heavier rainfall is expected to occur over areas near the Rockies where the northeasterly upslope flow enhances precipitation intensity. Another 20 mm of rain is possible today over these upslope areas while townsites that are located further away may only receive 10 mm.

“As the system continues to make its way southeastward, rainfall will intensify or spread to the central and southern interior today and to the Kootenays early this evening. General rainfall amounts of 25 to 35 mm can be expected for parts of the central and southern interior through this evening and for parts the Kootenays tonight through Wednesday.”

This upper low pressure system will situate over the Washington and Oregon states by Wednesday morning and then remain quasi-stationary through much of this week. Moisture will continue to wrap around this feature and affect the southern interior and the Kootenays over the next few days. There is still uncertainty to the location of this wrap-around moisture but it is not out of the question that some of the affected regions may experience a prolonged rainfall event.

“Meanwhile, conditions are favourable for the development of thunderstorms this afternoon over parts of the Kootenays and the Southern and Central Interior. The potential exists that some of these thunderstorms may become severe. These severe thunderstorms are capable of giving large hail and damaging wind gusts.”