'Atmospheric river' in B.C. to be followed by high winds and snow in some areas

·2 min read
Two people wade through water after checking on their barn during flooding in Abbotsford, B.C., on Nov. 15, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
Two people wade through water after checking on their barn during flooding in Abbotsford, B.C., on Nov. 15, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

Parts of B.C. have seen more than 200 millimetres of rain in the last day, and there is still more precipitation in the forecast, along with heavy winds that could worsen an already dangerous situation.

Environment Canada has issued rainfall, winter storm, snowfall and wind warnings across much of the southern half of the province for Monday afternoon as an "atmospheric river" event continues to batter the region, leading to road closures, flooding and evacuations.

By 4 p.m. PT, Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan told reporters that the rain was mostly over on the South Coast, but winds gusting between 70 and 90 km/h were on the way.

He said to expect "very treacherous driving conditions" along with more power outages as the storm continues. Lower nighttime temperatures could also lead to flash freezing on some roads.

The average monthly rainfall for Vancouver in November is 185 millimetres, but many parts of the region had exceeded that amount in less than 48 hours.

Between 11 a.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Monday, Hope and the Coquihalla Summit had each received 252 millimetres of rain, Agassiz 208 millimetres, Squamish 206 millimetres and Vancouver 119 millimetres, according to Environment Canada.

Though the hardest rains were concentrated in the Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island was also hard hit, with 149 millimetres falling in Victoria.

"This is definitely a rare event, if not a once-in-a-lifetime event for for us here on the coast," Environment Canada meteorologist Mike Gismondi told CBC News.

The Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt, which has been closed since Sunday because of mudslides, is now the subject of a snowfall warning. Up to 25 centimetres of snow is expected in some areas by midday Tuesday.

Meanwhile, as the rain tapers off in the Fraser Valley on Monday afternoon, winds are expected to pick up speed, with gusts of up to 90 km/h in the forecast.

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