Hail, wind storm

UPDATE: 3 p.m.

Environment Canada says conditions are favourable for the development of storms that could produce strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain.

A Pacific cold front is approaching the coast and will develop over the southwestern Interior of the province Thursday night.

It says heavy rain associated with the storms, combined with spring snow melt will lead to rising river levels and could increase the risk of flooding.

Thunderstorms are predicted for Greater Victoria, the Southern Gulf Islands, Metro Vancouver, Whistler, and the Fraser Valley. The storm is also expected to sweep up the Fraser Canyon, and in the regions of the Nicola, the North and South Thompson, Okanagan and Shuswap, Similkameen and North Columbia.

— with files from The Canadian Press.

ORIGINAL: 11 a.m.

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, warning of possible thunderstorms and heavy downpours Thursday night throughout the Okanagan Valley.

A Pacific cold front will hit the B.C. coast this evening. Ahead of the front,  conditions favourable for thunderstorm development will persist over much of the B.C. Southern Interior.

Severe thunderstorm watches are also in place in the Similkameen, Nicola and North and South Thompson, Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver.

Environment Canada warns that heavy rain from the thunderstorms combined with spring snow melt will lead to rising river levels, “fast flowing water and adjacent riverbanks will be potentially unsafe.”

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