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Okanagan thunderstorm watch

Environment Canada has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the entire Okanagan Valley.

The advisory was put out at 10 a.m. this morning.

According to the advisory, conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms that may be capable of producing strong wind gusts and heavy rain.

It goes on to say:

"Thunderstorms developing over Washington State are expected to move into BC's southwestern interior late this afternoon and may become severe. Wind gusts to 70 km/h and rainfall amounts up to 15 mm in a short period of time could produce localized flooding.

Hail is also possible. Intense lightning is likely with any storm that develops. Be prepared for severe weather. Take cover immediately, if threatening weather approaches."

Environment Canada meteorologist, Andre Besson, says thunderstorms could begin by late afternoon and remain into Wednesday morning.

Besson says this storm could be a significant event considering the lack of precipitation in recent weeks.

"Temperatures have been fairly warm and the soil is fairly dry, therefore it may be difficult for the soil to absorb any localized heavy downpour at once. This could be a major concern," says Besson.

"Another issue is the increase in lightning activity will only exacerbate the forest fires in the area. We do expect significant thunderstorm activity."

On the flip side, Besson says the storm could help clear out the smoke hanging in the valley from forest fires throughout the province.

Environment Canada will update the alert as required.

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