A smoky sunrise sillhouette in Penticton earlier this week. Photo courtesy of Meghann Fletcher.

Chance of showers may not be enough to rid Okanagan of smoke

Wind and chance of thunderstorms competing factors in this week’s forecast

While showers are forecast to reach the Okanagan later this week, wind direction and the chance of thunderstorms mean that the smoke in the air may be here to stay a while longer.

According to Lisa Erven, meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, hot and dry temperatures will persist into Thursday.

Temperatures will then begin to drop throughout Thursday with increased cloud cover and a cold front sweeping through other parts of the province.

“For Thursday night and Friday we’re expecting to see some showers. Daytime temperatures will really drop off well below seasonal for this time of year, with a high of 18 degrees for Friday,” said Erven.

It’s too early to say just how much rain this area will see.

“We could see quite a large variation (of showers) from place to place — it could be anywhere from a trace to up to five or eight millimetres.”

RELATED: Okanagan tourists undeterred by smoke

With the decreased air quality warnings Tuesday and the forecast of rain ahead, there is a chance the area will see some relief from the smoke. But Erven explains this may be short-lived, if it happens at all.

“In terms of the smoke forecast over the Okanagan, our stations have seen a decrease in wildfire smoke concentrations over the last 24 to 36 hours, as we’ve been under a northeasterly wind flow. This has directed wildfire smoke more towards the coast of B.C.,” said Erven.

“Beginning on Wednesday, we’re going to see a shift to more southwesterly winds which has the potential to bring wildfire smoke back in over the Okanagan due to the large wildfires nearby.”

In addition, the chance of thunderstorms means the area may see lightning, which has the potential to spark new wildfires with the current dry conditions.

“So we have sort of competing factors here. When you have precipitation it can help scour out the air and improve air qualities. However, with the risk of thunderstorms we have the potential for new fire starts and northwesterly winds could bring smoke,” said Erven.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter

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