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Risk of ‘dry lightning’ in forecast, could worsen B.C.’s wildfire situation

Dry lightning is lightning without the rain
FILE – Lightning strikes late in the evening on Thursday Aug. 23, 2007. (Dave Chidley/The Canadian Press)

Federal meteorgologists are forecasting strong and gusty winds, as well as risk of dry lightning, across B.C.’s southern Interior – bringing with it new fire starts, breaking tree branches and challenging boating conditions.

“There has been a widespread shift to westerly or northwesterly winds of 20 km/h gusting 40 throughout the Central Interior as a dry cold front passed through last night,” Environment Canada said in a bulletin Friday morning (Aug. 18).

“Winds will remain gusty until late this afternoon.”

As B.C. faces intense drought, many trees will be susceptible to winds.

In the southern Interior, where many wildfires became highly visible overnight – sparking evacuation orders impacting thousands – the national weather agency said that the winds seen in the last 24 hours will shift from southwesterly to northwesterly, with a small dip in strength.

“Instability near and behind the cold front may lead to the development of thunderstorms today,” the bulletin reads, causing severe localized winds that reach up to or above 70 kilometres per hour, as well as dry lightning, which is lightning with little or no rain.

This latest wire scenario comes amid extended heat in the region, surpassing 30-35 C in many communities.

More to come.

About the Author: Ashley Wadhwani-Smith

I began my journalistic journey at Black Press Media as a community reporter in my hometown of Maple Ridge, B.C.
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