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Rainfall warnings lifted in Thompson Okanagan

June 21, 2013 - 6:52 AM

Update: 8:45 a.m. June 21, 2013

With rainfall warnings lifted around the province the full extent of two days of rain is being assessed throughout the Interior.

Environment Canada is reporting two-day rainfall totals as high as 106 millimetres in Sparwood and another five stations reporting more than 50 mm. In the Okanagan Vernon and Salmon Arm saw the most rain with 44 and 45 mm. Kelowna tallied 33 mm while Kamloops saw 26 mm.

At 26.4 mm of rain on Thursday Vernon broke a rainfall record for the second day in a row, the previous record was 13.6 mm in 2003. Not far behind at 23.4 mm on the day, Kelowna also set a rainfall record Thursday, though the records only go back to 2005 at the airport. Penticton also broke the rainfall record yesterday, with a total of 17.4 mm of rain recorded, more than 7 mm above the 1998 record.

A chance of rain is being forecast for the entire region today as well with a possibility of an afternoon thunderstorm in the more northern areas.

Reports of water pooling yesterday on area highways have been cleared this morning though some roads and highways were affected by washouts. In Lumby rural creeks flooded their banks spilling over yards and driveways. Lakeshore Road in Kelowna was closed for a time yesterday due to the high flow of Mission Creek but reopened this morning.

The TransCanada Highway is closed due to washouts heading into Alberta, where flooding has caused roads to be washed out and evacuations in many southwestern cities, including Calgary. Hwy 93 and Hwy 31 are both closed in the Kootenays because of washouts while Hwy 3 heading into Alberta is also down to a single lane.

Update: 6:30 a.m. June 21, 2013

All rainfall warnings have now been lifted.

Update: 10:25 p.m. June 20, 2013

Rainfall warnings for several regions, including the South Thompson and Shuswap regions, have been cancelled this evening. Among those areas still under warning are the Okanagan Valley, including Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton and much of the Kootenays.

Another 5-10 millimetres of rain is expected over night in these regions with light showers expected Friday as well.

Update: 11:40 a.m. June 20, 2013

A flood watch has been issued for the Upper and Lower Columbia rivers and the East and West Kootenay rivers, while streamflow advisories remain in place for the Thompson, Okanagan, Boundary and Upper Columbia regions.

Rain continues to fall through much of the region though rainfall warnings have ended for 100 Mile and West Columbia.

Drive B.C. is also alerting drivers to water pooling through the Shuswap and near Monte Creek on Hwy 1 and highways 97, 97A and 97B, in addition to pooling on the Coquihalla Highway, the Okanagan Connector and Hwy 97 north of Vernon reported earlier this morning.

In Vernon officials are keeping an eye on water levels but do not expect flooding to reach the same levels as last year. In Kamloops officials have closed all city fields due to the heavy rainfall.

Update: 9 a.m. June 20, 2013

A rainfall warning continues as a system remains over the Southern Interior Wednesday. The system has already brought up to 80 mm of rain in some areas and upwards of 30 mm is expected for Thursday.

On Wednesday precipitation records fell in several cities. Salmon Arm saw 29.8 mm of rain, breaking a previous record of 20.8 mm in 1997 while only four millimetres fell in Penticton. In between Kelowna saw 10.5 mm (2.5 mm was the previous record), Vernon 17.9 mm (previous record of 9.4 mm) and Kamloops at 12.3 mm was a couple of millimetres short of a record.

The heavy rainfall has caused multiple washout and debris flow areas in Alberta forcing the closure of Hwy 1 east of Golden while water pooling is being reported by Drive B.C. on several highways, including Hwy 5, Hwy 97 and Hwy 97C. The river forecasting centre is also keeping an eye on Interior waterways after issuing a high streamflow advisory yesterday morning because of the anticipated rainfall amounts.

Further east Cranbrook received more than 31 mm of rain on Wednesday though Environment Canada reports up to 80 mm of rain has fallen in some southeastern parts of the province. Two mudslides have closed Hwy 31 north of Kaslo. A washout on Hwy 31A has also closed the highway between New Denver and Kaslo.

Rainfall warnings continue today from the Fraser Valley east to Alberta and from the U.S. Border north to 100 Mile. Another 10-30 mm of rain is expected during the day and another 10-20 mm could fall overnight in the more southeastern areas. While the system is expected to weaken there is still a chance of rain throughout the weekend for most communities.

Across the Alberta border heavy rains have also played havoc in some areas with more than 70 mm falling in the Kananaskis and Canmore region and another 50-100 mm of rain expected over the next couple of days. Roads have been washed out, highways closed, creeks flooded and homes evacuated because of the heavy rains.

Rainfall records for June 20:
- Penticton, 10 mm in 1998 (1941-2011)
- Kelowna, 1 mm in 2006 (2005-2009)
- Vernon, 13.6 mm in 2003 (1991-2007)
- Salmon Arm, 15.6 mm in 2003 (1991-2012)
- Kamloops, 22.3 mm in 1995 (1951-2012)

UPDATE: 6:30 a.m. June 20, 2013

Rainfall warnings remain in effect today with as much as 12 mm of rain falling yesterday in parts of the Thompson-Okanagan.

UPDATE: 11:05 a.m. June 19, 2013

The province has issued a high streamflow advisory for many of the rivers in the Interior. Due to the forecast for heavy rainfall it is expected rivers will rise rapidly over the next two days. Rivers in the Thompson, Okanagan, Boundary, West and East Kootenay, Upper Columbia and Lower Columbia are all under advisory.

While all watersheds including the North Thompson, Salmon River, Shuswap River, Eagle River and Mission Creek are included in the advisory small to medium sized watersheds will see the most significant rises.

Environment Canada is also warning the development of severe thunderstorms with large hail, damaging winds and intense lightening will be possible with the system later today.

Update: 8:55 a.m. June 19, 2013

A system expected to bring between 40-60 millimetres of rain over the next two days has started hitting areas of the Interior this morning as Environment Canada continues a rainfall warning for much of the southern region of province.

The first part of the system is moving up through the Kootenays to the Okanagan and North Thompson areas with rain being reported in cities such as Kelowna and Penticton as of 8 a.m.

Most Southern Interior cities can expect between 10-15 mm of rain during the day with another 15-30 mm expected overnight. Forecasts for Thursday and Friday also call for more periods of rain. 

Record precipitation amounts for many of the cities in the Thompson Okanagan are well below the 15 mm mark and if the forecast is correct records could be broken before the end of the day.

- Penticton, 14.2 mm in 1956 (1941-2011)

- Kelowna Airport, 2.5 mm in 2006 (2005-2009)

- Vernon, 9.4 mm in 2006 (1991-2007)

- Salmon Arm, 20.8 mm in 1997 (1991-2012)

- Kamloops, 14.4 mm in 1986 (1951-2012)

Update: 4:15 p.m. June 18, 2013

After issuing a special weather statement early this morning Environment Canada has now issued a heavy rainfall warning for most of the B.C. Interior.

A total of 40-60 millimetres of rain is expected to fall beginning early Wednesday and lasting through Thursday for the Fraser Canyon and Chicoltin areas and almost all regions east to the Alberta border. Higher amounts or rainfall can be expected in some localized areas.

Conditions remain favourable for the development of thunderstorms which could bring large hail, damaging winds and intense lightening as well with the potential for severe thunderstorms this evening.

7:23 a.m. June 18, 2013

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement today calling for heavy rain, thunder and lightning throughout the B.C. Interior developing today and tomorrow.

The forecast says the weather system is expected to develop today and bring the rain tomorrow and continue to Thursday.

According to forecasters, the challenge is pinpointing where exactly the heaviest amounts will fall. Currently the heaviest amounts are possible in an area stretching from the Central Rockies west to the Chilcotin and south to the U.S. border. Widespread rainfall totals of 40 to 60 mm is expected over a two-day period with locally higher amounts possible especially where rain is enhanced by local topography.

Stay with us as we watch this developing story.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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