Heat wave scorches South Okanagan

Records could be set in Penticton Friday and Saturday, before more normal temperatures return next week

Meghan Thompson of Penticton soaks up some rays on Okanagan Lake beach this week as the region was basked in some early-season sun and above-normal temperatures. Although the mercury had not reached record levels by Thursday there a the potential for today.

Meghan Thompson of Penticton soaks up some rays on Okanagan Lake beach this week as the region was basked in some early-season sun and above-normal temperatures. Although the mercury had not reached record levels by Thursday there a the potential for today.

Don’t break out the bathing suit just yet. The sunny, warm days the South Okanagan has been seeing lately won’t last long.

At least according to Environment Canada forecaster Elizabeth Robilliard.

“We have had fairly nice weather the last several days and the high-pressure ridge should continue to hold for the next couple of days, but then everything is going to change,” said Robilliard. “We have a weather system that is approaching the B.C. coast and that is going to spread rain over western British Columbia and gradually work its way eastward into the Interior. By late Saturday and into Sunday you will see precipitation edging into the area, with most of the rain on Monday.”

While Penticton hasn’t set a record temperature yet, Robilliard said there is potential for it on Friday or Saturday. Record temperatures on those days in Penticton were 28.9 C on May 10 and 29.6 C on May 11. Environment Canada is forecasting it to be mainly sunny with highs of 30 C on Friday and 28 C on Saturday. Some records were broken in the South Okanagan this week, with Osoyoos posting a temperature of 32.4 C on Wednesday, surpassing the previous mark of 29 C set in 1994. On Thursday Osoyoos saw a high of 32 C.

Robilliard said there will be cloud with a chance of showers this weekend, but the 10-day forecast shows a return to typical May temperatures.

“It should still be fairly pleasant. I think even on Mother’s Day there will be cloud around, but it should stay dry, possibly an isolated shower later in the day, then the rain will come in on Monday,” she said. “The temperatures for May so far are above normal, because the high is typically around 19 C.”

With the hot weather, Syndey Millership, store manager at Canadian Tire in Penticton, has seen an uptick in business for seasonal goods.

“Saturday was very busy and we had more foot traffic come in than we have seen for awhile. We had types of hoses that sold out and we’re selling lots of air conditioners and fans which usually doesn’t happen this early in the season,” she said.

Millership expects there will be a lot of people camping for the May long weekend considering how much camping gear has been flying out their doors.

“The past four seasons we haven’t seen this much camping gear go out. As well, our garden centre has been busy with Mother’s Day coming and lots of people picking up items for their vegetable and flower gardens,” said Millership.

Aaron Galbraith, an employee at Art Knapps Plantland, said he also noticed more people coming through the doors during the week because of the beautiful weather and with Mother’s Day fast approaching.

“Oh definitely, people are flooding in and are excited about their plants,” said Galbraith. “The weekend was really busy with people coming in to get hanging baskets.”

Galbraith cautioned those who are eager to get their plants in the ground that typically the last frost is on May 15. He said if you plan on planting in permanent locations to remember to watch the weather forecasts and be prepared to protect the delicate plants if frost is expected.

The B.C. SPCA reminds pet owners to take precautions against the danger of heat exhaustion and heatstroke for their animals as the hot weather returns. The temperature in a parked car, even in the shade with the windows partly open, can rapidly reach a level that will seriously harm or even kill your pet. They say on hot days the air and upholstery in your vehicle can heat up to high temperatures that makes it impossible for pets to cool themselves. Among some of the symptoms of heat stroke are exaggerated panting (or the sudden stopping or panting), rapid or erratic pulse, salivation, red lips and tongue.