Severe thunderstorm watches issued in northern B.C., as Upper Fraser River flood watch ends

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Lightning strikes can be fatal, warns Environment and Climate Change Canada, as it issued severe thunderstorm warnings in parts of B.C.'s Interior and North on Friday. (Submitted by April Loewen - image credit)
Lightning strikes can be fatal, warns Environment and Climate Change Canada, as it issued severe thunderstorm warnings in parts of B.C.'s Interior and North on Friday. (Submitted by April Loewen - image credit)

Meteorologists are warning the public there may be severe thunderstorms across parts of northern and Interior B.C.

The thunderstorm watches were issued Friday, the same day as river forecasters ended their flood watches that had been in place on the Upper Fraser River for several days.

Environment and Climate Change Canada issued severe thunderstorm watches Friday for the Stuart-Nechako, and the Bulkley Valley and the Lakes District regions.

"Conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms that may be capable of producing strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain," Environment and Climate Change Canada said on its website.

"Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads."

However, earlier storm watches were rescinded for Prince George, B.C., as well as for the Chilcotin and Cariboo regions, including Quesnel, around 6 p.m.

The federal agency reminded the public that lightning strikes can be fatal and to take precautions.

The storm watch, which is one step before an official weather warning from the agency, comes after parts of the province saw major flooding over the last month, including an instance that left a 31-year-old woman dead in Kelowna, B.C.

High streamflow advisory

Meanwhile, B.C.'s River Forecast Centre has downgraded its flood watch in the Upper Fraser River, issued Wednesday, back to a high streamflow advisory.

It says this includes areas from Prince George and upstream tributaries through the Robson Valley and the McGregor River, as well as the Fraser River from Prince George to Quesnel.

It is also ending a high streamflow advisory for West Road River including tributary rivers and streams around Nazko.

The centre issued the initial statements earlier this week after rainfall caused flows to increase in the Upper Fraser River.

It says the Fraser River near Hansard and Shelley is still peaking, but is expected to recede through the weekend with dry conditions forecast in the region.

However, the centre says rivers are still flowing relatively high for this time of year and remain vulnerable to heavy rain in the coming weeks.