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Intense storm brings risk of 'micro bursts'

July 14, 2016 8:45 A.M.

Heavy rain, the sort that can wash out roads and flood basements, is on the horizon.

A storm warning was issued early Thursday, July 14, for areas of the southern Interior including the South Thompson and Okanagan.

Environment Canada advises that a strong, upper low-pressure system is moving into the Interior in the afternoon before it drifts eastward overnight and Friday. This will bring heavy showers and embedded thunderstorms starting in the afternoon.

The difficulty in forecasting such "micro bursts" is their unpredictability. Due to the convective nature of the system, rainfall could be highly variable across any given region. Localized rainfall amounts of up to 20 mm in a short period are possible in some areas.

It was a 20-mm rainstorm that struck the city in 2014, turning streets into rivers of runoff. A similar amount fell in Westsyde last June, causing extensive property damage and shutting down Westsyde Road for hours.

The storm continues an unsettled weather pattern that has dominated the first weeks of summer with no break expected until next week.

Friday should bring showers and a risk of a thunderstorm in the afternoon, followed by clouds and a 60 percent chance of showers Saturday. Sunday’s forecast calls for mixed weather, a 30 percent chance of showers with the temperature climbing as high as 30C when the sun breaks through.  

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