A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for nearly all of B.C.’s Southern Interior.
Environment Canada issued the watch just before 10:30 a.m., on Saturday morning.
The watch covers the Fraser Canyon, South Thompson, Nicola, Similkameen, Shuswap, Okanagan, Arrow Lakes, Boundary, West Kootenay, Kootenay Lake and East Kootenay regions.
“Conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms that may be capable of producing strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain,” Environment Canada said in its severe thunderstorm watch.
“Strong thunderstorms will develop over Fraser Canyon, South Thompson, Nicola and Similkameen this afternoon. Heavy downpours and very strong wind gusts are possible with these thunderstorms.”
The national weather agency added that strong thunderstorms will develop over the Okanagan, Shuswap, Boundary, West Kootenay, Arrow Slocan, Kootenay Lake and East Kootenay regions this evening with possible heavy downpours, very strong wind gusts and large hail.
The watch was upgraded from a statement that’s been in effect since Thursday.
The statement called for strong thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon or evening to be followed by significant rainfall on Sunday.
“A low pressure system will move into B.C. from Washington State tonight,” said the statement.
“Ahead of the low, atmospheric conditions will be conducive to potentially strong thunderstorms with frequent lightning, heavy rain and strong wind gusts. Large hail is also possible with these storms.”
Environment Canada is forecasting rainfall amounts of 20 to 40 mm, and up to 50 mm east of the Okanagan, by Sunday afternoon, causing local rivers to rise.
The weather agency says severe thunderstorm watches are issued when atmospheric conditions are favourable for the development of thunderstorms that could produce large hail, damaging winds or torrential rainfall.