Localized thunderstorms and gusty winds are expected across the Okanagan Valley this evening. (File photo)

Localized thunderstorms and gusty winds are expected across the Okanagan Valley this evening. (File photo)

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen urges caution during thunderstorms

Waterways including rivers, creeks, drainages and vulnerable slopes could become hazardous

With precipitation in the forecast and with a Thunderstorms and Strong Winds Weather Notification and Thunderstorm Watch issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen Emergency Operations Centre is reminding people to stay safe around waterways.

In a news release, the regional district said people should be aware of the potential freshet or spring melt which can result in higher than normal spring runoff.

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As a result, waterways including rivers, creeks, drainages and vulnerable slopes could become hazardous.

As of June 11, Environment and Climate Change Canada issued a severe Thunderstorm Watch for the Okanagan Valley and a Thunderstorms and Strong Winds advisory for the Central and Southeastern Interior.

Thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday will have the potential to deliver heavy downpours, strong winds, frequent lightning and hail.

Spring freshet and intense weather systems can destabilize soil and rock, causing mudslides, landslides and rockslides which are unpredictable.

People are urged to stay alert near or around waterways and slopes due to the potential for sudden changes in conditions.

Those who have items on their property that may be impacted by strong winds are asked to secure them properly.

In British Columbia, property owners are responsible for taking the necessary steps to assess and protect their property. Government emergency programs focus on broader flood response measures.

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