Worries about drought year on the rise in Thompson-Okanagan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Worries about drought year on the rise in Thompson-Okanagan

The traditionally rainy months of May and June are taking on added importance in terms of wildfire danger and drought conditions for the Thompson and Okanagan as the region continues to experience a lack of moisture.
Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
May 14, 2021 - 1:21 PM

Kamloops and the Okanagan still have a couple of the wettest months of the year to get through before the summer heat descends but the current drier than normal conditions suggest in may be a drought year for the region.

The federal Ministry of Agriculture’s latest drought monitor report on April 30 says a combination of dry winter conditions and early mid-elevation snowmelt are causes of concern in the B.C. Interior as precipitation has been below normal for the last two months.

The ministry is reporting moderate drought conditions through Salmon Arm and Kelowna, and abnormally dry conditions in the Thompson and South Okanagan regions.

The B.C Wildfire Service seasonal outlook for early May also notes the drier conditions prevalent this spring, with a drier than normal April for most of the Southern Interior.

The wildfire service says the Okanagan has received 40 to 50 per cent less precipitation than usual since last fall.

“Early wildfire activity has been intensified by low humidity and high wind speeds in valley bottoms, resulting in numerous active wildfires to date,” the wildfire service reports, but it also says the average size of wildfires this year is below historical norms.

“British Columbians can continue to expect normal spring fire conditions. Additionally, the summer wildfire season cannot be reliably predicted either; fire activity in mid to late summer is strongly influenced by the June rainfall cycle,” the wildfire service concludes.

Parts of the B.C. Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island are also experiencing abnormally dry conditions, as well as further north in the Fort St. John region.

Extreme drought conditions are reported in southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with moderate to abnormally dry conditions throughout the southern half of the prairies.

Southern and Central Ontario and southeastern Quebec area also experiencing a lack of moisture, with moderate to abnormally dry conditions in those provinces.

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