Smokanagan still possible

John K. White

While it may feel like it has rained for all of July so far, the Okanagan is actually relatively dry overall.

Bobby Sekhon, meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said that the normally rainy weeks in June were late this year.

"This has been close to a normal July in terms of precipitation for a lot of the Okanagan, in contrast with the very dry Julys that we had in the last two years, Sekhon said.

Mixed bag of weather

"What happened this year is that, even though May and June especially were quite dry, the cold lows that bring the rain in June came about two to three weeks later than usual. That gave a lot of precipitation into July which we might have received normally in June."

Sekhon said it's been a mostly good-news story in the Okanagan.

"I know there's been some issues with some crops, however, from a wildfire perspective, I would think our colleagues with BC Wildfire Service are pretty pleased about this," he said.

Even though July has been fairly normal for precipitation in the Okanagan, if it is averaged over the past 60 days including July, it's still drier than normal, Sekhon said.

"That just goes to show just how much of a deficit we had in the spring. We had a very dry four-month period prior to this," Sekhon said.

Rain, rain and more rain

In August we expect a little less precipitation than in July, he added. The average precipitation for August in Vernon is 32 mm.

The major threat of a return to wildfire danger and Smokanagan conditions is a high pressure system getting blocked in place over the Okanagan, Sekhon noted.

"What we've seen the past couple of years is these blocking patterns which have stayed for prolonged periods of time. That really dries things out, which is not good," he said.

And, despite precipitation perceptions, the long-range forecast for the Okanagan for the summer is still calling for dry conditions and above-average temperatures.

"Our summer seasonal forecast for July, August and September produced by our climate models is showing above-average temperatures for that period, but that's averaged over a three-month period," Sekhon said. "So we'll go through some periods where we'll have a little bit cooler than normal, like right now, and then down the line we'll see something above normal as well."

Looking shorter term, Sekhon said the coming week should be more of what we're used to this time of year.

"We are looking at things getting drier this weekend as a ridge of high pressure builds in, and by early next week we can be in the low 30s," he said.

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