Hazy Kelowna skies on Friday, July 31. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Hazy Okanagan skies caused by U.S. wildfires: Environment Canada

Despite potential thunderstorms forecasted Friday, the Okanagan heat wave will carry through the weekend

Fires south of the border are causing hazy skies throughout the Okanagan, according to Environment Canada.

Meteorologist Bobby Sekhon said fires in eastern Washington are to blame.

“It’s kind of a combination of the smoke from all of those fires that are contributing to that haze in the Okanagan,” he said.

Smoky skies, Sekhon said, mean people should monitor Environment Canada’s air quality index. Currently, the entire Okanagan sits at a “low risk” level 3 on the index, but the Central and South Okanagan could reach a “moderate risk” level 4 throughout Friday and Saturday.

B.C. Wildfire is also monitoring reports of visible smoke and haze in the region.

“This is likely the result of a southern air mass flowing through the region that is bringing smoke north from wildfires in Washington and Montana.”

The BC Wildfire Service is continuing to receive and monitor reports of smoke and haze visible in certain areas within…

Posted by BC Wildfire Service on Friday, July 31, 2020

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A family enjoys their ice cream in the heat in downtown Kelowna on Monday, July 27. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)

Not the end of the heat wave

Despite potential thunderstorms in the forecast for Friday, the sun is not quite done baking the Okanagan just yet.

Temperatures on Friday could reach upwards of 35 C in some areas despite the rain. Temperatures for Saturday and Sunday are also looking to be in the mid-30s.

“The warmth is going to continue,” Sekhon said. “Still remaining fairly hot — above average for this time of year.”

The end of the long weekend, however, could see further thunderstorms as temperatures begin to drop back to seasonal on Monday.

But for now, Sekhon advised the heat warning is still in effect.

“Just be mindful of that. Anybody who is sensitive to the heat may want to take some precautions,” he said. “Everyone should be drinking water, keeping in shaded areas at the hottest parts of the day and avoid being outside in the heat for too long.”

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


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