August 10, 2019 12:31 pm
Updated: August 10, 2019 3:44 pm

Severe thunderstorm watch, smoky skies bulletin issued for B.C.’s Southern Interior

A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for most of B.C.'s Southern Interior, along with a smoky skies bulletin. Kasia Bodurka has more what to expect, weather-wise, for Saturday.

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A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for most of B.C.’s Southern Interior.

“An approaching upper-level disturbance will bring conditions favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening,” Environment Canada said on Saturday.

“These thunderstorms are capable of producing frequent lightning, gusty winds and rainfall rates of 15 to 25 millimetres an hour.”

READ MORE: Okanagan weather: Cooler temperatures and rain en route

The national weather service added that intense lightning is likely with any thunderstorm that develops.

The thunderstorm watch, issued by Environment Canada on Saturday at 3:57 a.m., is in effect for the following regions:

  • Fraser Canyon
  • South Thompson
  • Nicola, including the Coquihalla Highway and the Okanagan Connector
  • Okanagan Valley
  • Arrow Lakes – Slocan Lake
  • Boundary
  • West Kootenay
  • Kootenay Lake

WATCH BELOW (Aired Aug. 9, 2019): B.C. wildfire crews fighting Eagle Bluff fire prepare for storm

Also, due to forest fires, a special air quality statement is blanketing most of southern B.C. as well.

“The smoky skies bulletin has been expanded to include the entire southeastern BC Interior,” said Environment Canada.

“The change in the weather has resulted in smoke being advected [a bulk or horizontal transfer of mass] into more areas. It is not clear how much of the smoke is from the Eagle Bluff fire near Oliver, but smoke transport models indicate that smoke from fires in Washington State is moving into B.C.”

Below are the regions under the air quality statement

  • Arrow Lakes – Slocan Lake
  • Boundary
  • East Columbia
  • East Kootenay
  • Elk Valley
  • Kootenay Lake
  • Okanagan Valley
  • Shuswap
  • West Columbia
  • West Kootenay

Environment Canada says during smoky conditions:

  • Follow your common sense.
  • Stop or reduce your activity level if breathing becomes difficult or you feel unwell.
  • Stay cool and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Carry any rescue medications with you at all times.
  • Make sure that children and others who cannot care for themselves follow the same advice.
  • Monitor your symptoms
  • Different people have different responses to smoke. Mild irritation and discomfort are common, and usually disappear when the smoke clears.
  • People with asthma or other chronic illness should activate the personal care plans they have designed with their family physicians.
  • If you are unsure whether you need medical care, call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1.
  • If you are experiencing difficulty in breathing, chest pain or discomfort, or a severe cough, contact your health care provider, walk-in clinic, or emergency department.
  • If you are having a medical emergency, call 911.

Environment Canada tips to reduce your exposure

  • Smoke levels may be lower indoors but will still be elevated, so stay aware of your symptoms even when you are indoors.
  • Running a commercially available HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can improve indoor air quality in the room where the device is located.
  • If you have a forced air heating/cooling system in your home, it may help to change the filter and set the fan to run continuously.
  • Reduce indoor air pollution sources such as smoking, burning incense, and frying foods.
  • Consider going to a library, community center, or shopping mall with cooler filtered air to get some relief from the smoke.
  • If travelling in a car with air conditioning, keep the windows up and the ventilation set to recirculate.
  • If you are very sensitive to smoke, consider moving to another location with cleaner air, but be aware that conditions can change rapidly.
  • Maintaining good overall health is a good way to prevent health effects resulting from short-term exposure to air pollution.

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