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Upcoming heat wave could break records in the Okanagan, experts say

Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon will see temperatures rise above 30 C starting Mother’s Day
Skaha Beach in Penticton. Tempertures in the Peach City starting Sunday, May 14, will reach up to 32 C. (John Arendt - Black Press)

When it comes to the weather in mid-May, things are looking like they’ll be as hot as ever in the Okanagan.

Environment Canada says temperatures will reach highs of at least 32 C across the region starting Sunday, May 14.

That would break or at least challenge previous daily records of 30 C in Vernon, 30.2 in Kelowna and 32.8 C in Penticton.

“It’s exceptional for this time of year,” said Bobby Sekhon, a meteorologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada. “The peak of the heat will be Sunday and Monday and we are going to see temperatures that are 10 to 15 degrees above normal.”

While Kelowna posted highs of more than 32 C on May 14, 2018, previous daily heat records in Vernon and Penticton date back to 1924 and 1939, respectively.

Salmon Arm set its own May 14 heat record in 1924, by posting a temperature of 33.3 C. Environment Canada says temperatures in the Shuswap this Sunday are expected to reach 32 C.

Although it’s unlikely new daily heat records will be set after Monday and through the rest of next week, Sekhon says temperatures will remain well above average.

Highs in the region for mid-May are typically around 20 C, according to the federal weather agency.

“This ridge of high pressure is just really strong and one that’s building from the south. That, combined with the stagnant airmass, clear skies and lots of daytime heat during this year.”

Following a month of April in which the Okanagan only posted three days of “above-average” temperatures, Environment Canada projects the next seven to 10 days, starting Thursday, May 11, to be hot.

Environment Canada’s early projections indicate much of June will also feature above-average temperatures.

“The further out we go, the less certainty we have, but at this point, it looks like it will remain above normal for the outlook,” Sekhon said. “With that being said, June is one of those months where we can get cooler weather as well…it’s kind of a wait-and-see right now.”

In the meantime, ahead of the sudden warm spell this Mother’s Day, the meteorologist is reminding people to stay hydrated and take caution if engaging in outdoor water activities amid the anticipated snowmelt melt.

“Sometimes when it’s hot, we want to jump into a cool river or lake, but at this time of year it could be dangerous,” Sekhon said. “That fast-flowing water and idea of cold-water shock…those things can actually be hazardous.”

“Keep those things in mind, and we could enjoy this hot weather.”

READ MORE: ‘Substantial’ shift coming to B.C.’s Interior


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