Concern for southeast thunderstorms travelling over to Osoyoos

Watching for thunderstorms

There's concern from the provincial government about thunderstorms that are entering the southeast corner of the province on Thursday afternoon and may make their way as far west as Osoyoos.

During the B.C. government wildfire press conference on Thursday, Matt MacDonald, lead fire weather forecaster for the BC Wildfire Service and Neal McLoughlin, superintendent of predictive services for the BC Wildfire Service, addressed a question about what areas are drawing the most concern for lightning strikes and general wildfire risk.

"There are actually thunderstorms that are entering the southeast corner of the province. Our fire weather forecaster for the Southeast Fire Centre just recently issued a thunderstorm warning, again because our fuels are so receptive right now to ignition," MacDonald said.

The first round of thunderstorms entering the southeast corner is expected to travel over Fernie and spread westward through the evening, through Cranbrook out towards Castlegar, possibly extending into the South Okanagan.

"This is the first round of thunderstorms. That pattern persists in through tomorrow. Fortunately, tomorrow's thunderstorms will likely be accompanied by some rain," MacDonald said, adding it could be anywhere from two millimetres to 20 millimetres of rain, and not all areas will receive it.

"As we even get into Saturday, that signal for instability and additional thunderstorms persist and actually extends right through to Northern B.C. So all up and down the Rockies into that very dry northeast corner."

The forecast centre is expecting isolated lightning strikes on Saturday as well.

McLoughlin added one of the things they are most concerned about is large events that bring lightning close to communities and human values.

"Really there's a concern across most of the province and it'll be a matter of tracking storm systems as being materialized in terms of where that could occur and if it's close to communities that can be problematic," he said.

BC Wildfire Service officials spoke Thursday afternoon about the challenges the province is facing after a dry fall in 2022 and record-breaking heat through May has led to unseasonably dry conditions across the province.

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