Severe thunderstorm watch issued for region of northeast B.C.

Lightning can be a threat, and heavy rain can cause flooding and making driving difficult. (Eric Foss/CBC - image credit)

A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for the North Peace River region, accompanied by a series of special weather statements warning of heavy rain in a large portion of northeast B.C.

Environment and Climate Change Canada said that severe thunderstorms could cause flash floods and water pooling in the North Peace, which includes Fort St. John and some nearby communities, starting on Sunday.

Around 30 to 50 mm of rain could fall in the wider region, including Fort Nelson, due to a band of precipitation that is making its way toward the Prairies.

Rain is expected to ease early on Monday for the Muncho Lake Park and Fort Nelson regions, with downpours expected to continue through Monday evening for the North Peace River.

"Thunderstorms [are] more variable, and heavy downpours will be very localized," said Yimei Li, an Environment Canada meteorologist. "But the band of [precipitation] will be more widespread, although heavier precipitation is potentially near the east side of the North Rockies, so near Chetwynd."

Li says that there could be localized flooding in the North Peace River region due to the rain system.

She added that the main threat with the weather system would be heavy downpours, and forecasters do not anticipate dry lightning as of Sunday morning.

In addition to the risk of thunderstorms, a special weather statement warning of smoke remains near Fort Nelson — with multiple wildfires continuing to burn in B.C.'s parched northeast.

The B.C. Wildfire Service says that the Prince George Fire Centre, which includes northeast B.C., has nearly all of B.C.'s active wildfires as of Sunday morning. Those include the Parker Lake and Patry Creek wildfires close to Fort Nelson.

Karley Desrosiers, a wildfire information officer, told CBC News Friday that the cooler weather and showers in the region should help firefighters.

"The Fort St. John zone currently is forecast for quite a bit of rain," Desrosiers said Friday. "It would be great if it did move further north and kind of reach the Fort Nelson area as well — but as it stands right now, we are not expecting a lot of precipitation [there]."