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Dry July breaks hundred year record in Thompson-Okanagan

Lundquist says a big concern with the recent dry weather is the heightened risk of forest fires.
July 31, 2013 - 1:36 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - It was a dry July across the Thompson-Okanagan, but only two cities broke records.

In Vernon, it was the driest July it's been in 114 years, with just 1.1 mm of rain. Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist says it beat the former record of 1.6 mm, which was in July of 2003.  The normal level of precipitation for Vernon is 41 mm.

With even less precipitation, Kamloops also earned a new all-time dry record. The area saw 0.6 mm of rain this July, dipping below the previous record of 1.3 mm in 1970. Kamloops usually gets 30 mm of rain throughout July.

"It's extremely dry out there," Lundquist says. "It's not quite the end of the month though, those records might not stand."

While levels weren't record breaking elsewhere in the region, they were certainly below average. Kelowna received 5-6 mm of its normal 37mm, while Penticton got just 7mm of its regular 28mm.

Lundquist says conditions are similar to those that prompted the 2003 wildfires, although mother nature offered up a bit more rain in May and June of this year.

"There's a system coming in with possible thundershowers this week and weekend," Lundquist says. 

But while they may bring rains, thunderstorms can also bring fast winds and lightning, factors that worsen the risk of wildfires. Lunquist says the B.C. Day long weekend is typically the driest, hottest weekend of the summer.

"A lot of events are planned for the long weekend, and with the possibility of severe thunderstorms, my concern is for people out enjoying the outdoors," Lundquist says.

He reminds the public to go indoors when thunder roars, and take shelter in high winds.

"We're not sure exactly where the thundershowers will be. Lightning can strike the side of clouds and land in dry areas as well," Lundquist sats. "Dry lightning is possible."

And after a few cooler days, starting Thursday, Lundquist says the heat will be back.

"The heat could come back with even more intensity," Lundquist says. "Right through the next two weeks, it looks like it could be drier than normal."

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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