Still extremely dry in the South Okanagan, but rain coming

It’s going to be hot for the next couple of days, but not quite record-breaking.

The family that tubes together

The family that tubes together

It’s going to be hot for the next couple of days, but not quite record-breaking.

“For Penticton you are going to need to get over 36 C to get to records for the next couple of days. What we’ve got forecast is 35 C, so its close,” said Lisa Coldwells, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

Osoyoos is going to be even hotter, with a forecast high of 38 C, but that’s even farther away from their record of 41.7 C.

The next couple of days are going to be sunny and warm, but Coldwells said the most interesting weather trend coming up is significant amounts of rain, associated with a cold front, that should blow through the Okanagan on Friday.

Moist air coming up from the south and cold air coming down from the north are going to meet and form what Coldwells calls a “pretty significant line of precipitation” running from the Similkameen up to Vernon.

“It is going to be moving across the Okanagan Valley on Friday,” she said. “Everyone is going to get rain, and higher terrain is probably going to get as high as 25 millimetres and down in the valleys, everyone is going to be getting about five to 10 mm.

It is enough rain to help with forest fire conditions, but not enough to help with the long-term drought conditions. Coldwells explains that those take months to build up and will be affecting the province for a while yet.

“For that, we will have to have a return of the wintertime rains before we make a dent in drought,” she said.

Responding to continuing dry conditions, the province announced a Level 4 drought rating for the Okanagan last week,  along with suspending angling on the Okanagan River (main-stem only) between Okanagan Lake and Osoyoos Lake due to warming water temperatures.

The suspension is effective starting Aug. 6 until Sept 30. The closure is put in place to protect fish stocks due to high water temperatures. Lake fishing is not affected by the order and other at-risk streams in the affected area are already closed to fishing.

This brings the Okanagan region to the same drought level classification as the South Thompson, Similkameen, Kettle and Skagit areas, which were raised to Level 4 on July 27.

At Level 4, conditions are extremely dry. Further declines in stream, lake and aquifer levels could lead to water shortages and affect people, industry such as agriculture, wildlife and fish stocks. All water users, including those who access groundwater, are urged to maximize their water conservation efforts.