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Okanagan region experiencing moderate drought, Environment Canada says

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Okanagan region experiencing moderate drought, Environment Canada says – May 12, 2021

The Okanagan Basin Water Board has released its 2021 Okanagan water-supply outlook.

“In terms of flood risk, I think we are past the key flood period from the snow melt,” said David Campbell, B.C. River Forecast Centre’s head.

Early indicators show that the Okanagan is quite dry for this time of year, while flood risks are low, according to Environment Canada.

“We’ve had about 134 per cent above normal inflow, and that is with the warm weather, melting of the mid elevation snow. It still is a bit early to say if we have hit the peak or not for the year, that may depend on the weather,” said Campbell.

Read more: Review of Okanagan water management needed to prevent flooding: water board

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According to Environment Canada, the Okanagan has not had enough precipitation that experts want to see for this time of year.

“In March and April, we’ve had a lot of dry records. Kelowna had its driest March ever,” said Doug Lundquist, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s warning preparedness meteorologist.

“We are only at 15 mm of rain. We should normally be much closer to 70 mm of rain over the past few months.”

Currently, the region is experiencing moderate drought conditions.

“(The models) show Kelowna as a moderate drought area and all of the Okanagan is abnormally dry,” said Lundquist.

Read more: High wildfire danger areas in Okanagan, Shuswap to continue growing into weekend

B.C. Wildfire echoes those concerns of low precipitation, coupled with warmer temperatures.

“Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton is dry, dry, dry. Not ideal compared to normal. Lets get some rain this year,” said Robert Warner, A B.C. Wildfire spokesperson.

Even though there are concerns about how dry the region is now, experts say fluctuating weather patterns will determine if drought conditions persist.

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