At long last the East Kootenay has real, actual rain in its forecast. Gone are the days of temperatures loitering above the 30 degree mark and 40 per cent chances of rain that generally result in nothing more than a tease of a shower, which sputters out before it even has a chance to get anything properly wet.
According to Environment Canada meteorologist Alyssa Charbonneau the 70 per cent chance of rain forecasted for Thursday heralds not only “more widespread showers,” but a cold front that is moving in and will linger here a while.
“We’re looking at basically a cold front come through,” said Charbonneau, “and in behind it an unstable and cool airmass is going to be swinging down into the Kootenay Region. It looks like today (Wednesday, September 13) there will be a slight chance of showers late this afternoon and a risk of a thunderstorm later this afternoon and into the evening. So a thunderstorm could give heavier downpours.”
Environment Canada’s weather model is indicating the East Kootenay can expect more widespread showers than the unprecedented levels of heat and dryness that have been the norm most of this summer.
“That gives us a little bit more hope that we’ll see the more measurable rainfall amounts rather than just sort of the very isolated showers that we’ve been having.”
After weeks of scorching heat it is welcome news that, while the rain will dry up over the weekend, the cooler air mass will hang around. Thursday will be noticeably cooler with a high of only 12 and other areas like Sparwood at just eight degrees. In fact, temperatures will drop below average for this time of year.
“We won’t really see temperatures climbing back up and at least into next week our forecast is keeping relatively cool and below seasonal normals.”
Normal for now is around 21 and with temperatures hovering around 15 for the weekend, it is well below normal, and though the weekend is predicted to be dry, there is more precipitation slotted for Monday and into next week. This surely comes as a welcomed development to those fighting and affected by the raging wildfires that have crept into our region in recent weeks.
“I mean any cooler temperatures certainly will be welcome and chance of showers or any rain will be definitely welcome as well.”
There is some risk of thunderstorms, but unlike the dry lightning strikes that have been the primary cause of forest fires in B.C., these will be accompanied by substantial rainfall.
“You know lightning is never great,” Charbonneau said, “but on the same side with the cooler temperatures and with the rain expected with it, that is a pretty good news story there. And definitely I think going into cooler than normal temperatures for a longer stretch will be helpful.”
Charbonneau concluded her phone interview by mentioning that overnight lows may actually drop to below freezing, especially in more northern areas of the region, and Cranbrook forecasted with an overtime high of just plus one on Friday night.
“Something to keep in mind,” Charbonneau said. “That’s a pretty dramatic change from what we’ve been seeing. It’s going to probably feel like fall has come.”