Heat returning to Okanagan, Kamloops this weekend | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Heat returning to Okanagan, Kamloops this weekend

The sun seen through a smoky haze in Kelowna, Thursday, July 22, 2021.
July 23, 2021 - 6:30 AM

After some cooler temperatures, get ready for the heat to return by the weekend in Kamloops and the Okanagan, but only if the smoke clears enough.

“The general weather pattern is a little bit cooler right now with an upper trough moving over the province,” Environment Canada meteorologist Bobby Sekhon said. “As we get into the weekend, the ridge rebounds and we get back into sunny weather.”

The air pressure is lower in these regions than at the Coast so the higher pressure air is currently flowing over the lower pressure air in the region, contributing to winds that are causing problems for firefighters. Those should ease by the weekend.

After temperatures well above 30 Celsius for much of the summer so far, they will only reach the high 20s today, July 23. That’s closer to the average temperature for this time of year.

This weekend, temperatures will be four to six degrees higher than normal, putting them in the low 30s, Sekhon said. That will continue well into next week with little in the way of wind.

The sunshine and temperatures, however, will be moderated by wildfire smoke.

“Smoke is something we’re going to be battling with for the rest of the summer and into the fall with so many fires around B.C. and the Interior,” Sekhon said. “We’ll see fluctuating air quality in several communities through the Interior of B.C.”

Given the mountains and valleys throughout the region, air quality can change quickly and vary greatly over short distances.

“It will just depend on subtle wind patterns, depend on upper atmosphere stability and depend on the fires themselves so it’s kind of a tricky forecast,” Sekhon said. “Unless you’re directly close to a fire it’s hard to nail down exactly what to expect for the air quality.”

Most of the ground-level smoke is home grown in the sense it’s from B.C. fires but some is likely seeping in from fires in Washington State as well, he said.

You can check the provincial Air Quality Health Index here to see the risk rating for your region. Purpleair.com gives more detailed readings on PM2.5 (particulate matter below 2.5 microns in size are the most harmful smoke particles) for dozens of recording stations in the region.

Depending on how thick the smoke is, it can keep daytime temperatures below forecast highs but nighttime lows generally are not affected by smoke, Sekhon said.

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