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Nerve-wracking weather

UPDATE 11:10 a.m.

Stronger winds blew much of the smoke out of our region overnight which helped drop the air quality index from a high of 10-plus in Kelowna down to 2 overnight. The situation in Penticton is the same and both Kelowna and Penticton are expected to hover between 2 and a high of 6 Friday afternoon. The situation in Vernon is slightly better they dropped down to 2 overnight and are only expected to reach an Air Quality Health Index of 4 Friday.

Meteorologist Matt MacDonald tells Castanet, "I think a lot of people were really alarmed when they woke up in a total haze Thursday. If anything those winds mixed up the smoke and moved it out of the region so people will be breathing a little bit easier today."  

The weather has many on edge and MacDonald is watching the skies and monitoring the winds, "definitely nerve-wracking with these ongoing gusty and shifty winds."


ORIGINAL 5:42 a.m.

For the second day in a row Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement for all of the Okanagan.

Smoke from numerous wildfires in our region is causing poor air quality and reducing visibility.

A Smoky Skies Bulletin has been issued for Central Okanagan including Kelowna, West Kelowna and Peachland; South Okanagan including Penticton, Summerland, Naramata, Keremenos, Oliver and Osoyoos; North Okanagan; Kinbasket including Kinbasket reservoir south of Valemount; and Yellowhead including McBride and Valemount and all communities within the southern half of the Robson Valley.

A Smoky Skies Bulletin is continued for Vanderhoof and surrounding areas as well.

Air quality ratings today according to the BC Air Quality website are moderate for now and expected to move from a 2 rating (as of 5 a.m.) to as high as 6 later this afternoon.

Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.

Stay inside if you have breathing difficulties. Find an indoor place that's cool and ventilated. Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help. If you open the windows you may let in more polluted air. If your home isn't air-conditioned, consider going to a public place (library, shopping mall, recreation centre) that is air-conditioned.



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