May was rainy in Okanagan, Kamloops but not rainy enough to impact drought | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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May was rainy in Okanagan, Kamloops but not rainy enough to impact drought

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A rainy May in the Okanagan and Kamloops is good news for the wildfire season, but not quite enough to make up for continued drought conditions in the region.

Environment Canada meteorologist Chris Doyle said this May’s rainfall was higher than last year, but the Okanagan is still facing a severe drought.

In 2023, the weather station at UBC Okanagan Kelowna got roughly 20 millimetres of rain in May. This year there was about 34 mm which he said is positive, but the average rainfall for Kelowna in May is 40 mm.

Other cities around the Thompson and Okanagan regions got similar amounts of rain this May: Kamloops had 25 mm, Vernon had 31 mm and Penticton had 39 mm, according to, a site that compiles data from Environment Canada and other sources.

Rainfall levels are closer to normal than they were last year, but since the region has been in a drought, or precipitation deficit, for so long it will take a lot of rain to change drought conditions, Doyle said adding it’s likely the drought will continue all summer.

“What happens is that the system carries a deficit for as long as there is one,” Doyle said. “What we're looking for is a wetter-than-average winter to resolve this long-term drought.” 

READ MORE: Okanagan moved to drought level two, ‘very dry’

Precipitation levels may not pique people’s interest unless they are record breaking, but Doyle said it’s important to compare current levels with historical data to provide context for things like the severity of wildfire conditions.

It’s not all bad news.

Although Kamloops and the Okanagan are still facing a drought, Environment Canada is expecting conditions to be better this year than they were last year.

“It's a relief that this May wasn't as dry as May 2023. And our seasonal forecast suggests that June should be... a little bit wetter than average. So that's actually optimistic, maybe not optimistic, but certainly positive."

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