Cold front moves through West Kootenay, bringing wind, rain, and lightning

But this is actually more normal summer weather, says forecaster

A strong cold front moved through the West Kootenay this morning, bringing heavy rain, high winds and lightning from Nakusp to Christina Lake to Nelson.

Trees were knocked down and power interrupted briefly in some areas as the front moved east.

Commuters driving through the storm were met with poor visibility and debris on the roads, including downed power lines near Balfour.

“Receiving a lot of reports of downed trees and hydro lines in the #NelsonBC, #Balfour and #Castlegar areas in the #Kootenays,” said a tweet from DriveBC. “Crews are working hard to assess the situation and clear the road of debris. Please drive carefully.”

Nelson Hydro also warned customers of service interruptions.

“There are currently outages in most of Blewett, Taghum, the North Shore to Queens Bay including Harrop Proctor, as well as isolated pockets in the City,” said a company news release.

“Crews have been dispatched. Nelson Hydro thanks you for your patience as we work to restore power to our customers.”

The storm was a bit of a flash in the pan, according to a local forecaster.

“It’s a quick-hitter, it’s moving out now as we speak,” says Ron Lakeman, a weather forecaster with the Southeast Fire Centre. “We had bands of sub-tropical moisture, which moved in yesterday and produced some thunderstorms in the evening.”

But Lakeman says Tuesday night’s thunderstorms were the drier variety, while the cold front that went through this morning produced pretty heavy rain and lightning for 45 minutes.

“In behind that, the skies should open up to a degree today, so the best — or the worst — is over,” says Lakeman. “The high pressure should rebuild and Thursday and Friday should be sunny and warm.”

It will also be quite a bit cooler compared to Tuesday, with temperatures hitting around 25 today.

However, the lightning that accompanied the storm shouldn’t have a great impact on fires this time around, says Lakeman.

“If you look at the lightning map, we got plastered in the last 24 hours,” he says. “But that’s fairly common for a summer storm. When we get extensive amounts of lightning, we typically get a lot of rain with it, so we don’t get a lot of fires out of it.

“It might ignite a few trees, but typically the rains will come shortly thereafter and put the fires out or knocks them back. We may get a few holdovers in the next several days, but nothing immediate with the rain showers that also came out of it.”

Lakeman says this summer is turning out to be actually more typical than the last few years, with a cycle of a few nice warm days, followed by a storm moving through to break things up.

He says it looks like we’ll have sunny and warm weather more often than not over the next few weeks, with the odd cold front moving through to mix things up.

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