Powerful storm whips across Kootenays

·1 min read

Residents of the West Kootenay were treated to a spectacular natural fireworks display last Sunday night, and braced for more potentially dangerous lightning storms the next day.

On Monday morning, Environment Canada issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the Slocan and Arrow Lakes, the morning after a powerful storm delivered dozens of lightning strikes on the dry forests of the area.

However, by press time on Monday, there were no reports of strikes turning into spots fires in the region.

The powerful storm that blew across the Kootenays Sunday night featured nearly two hours of continuous flashes of sheet lightning, accompanied by hail and heavy rains in areas. About 330 FortisBC customers in Pass Creek lost power for several hours at the height of the storm, but no other major problems were reported.

“A stream of water vapour originating in the subtropics provided the moisture that fueled last night’s thunderstorms,” said Southeast Fire Centre fire forecaster Jesse Ellis on Monday. “And a small upper trough embedded in the prevailing south-southwesterly flow provided the trigger.”

But the scientific explanation doesn’t capture the sound and fury of the storm, which lit up the skies every few seconds.

“The hail last night woke me up out of a dead sleep multiple times!,” said one man from Pass Creek on Facebook. “Not looking forward to a couple more days of it.”

The alert from Environment Canada for the West Kootenay said that conditions into Tuesday “are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms that may be capable of producing strong wind gusts, hail and heavy rain.”

After that, the forecast into the weekend is for generally sunny and warm conditions.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice

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