Folks across Vancouver Island and sections of the South Coast should brace for heavy rain, gusty winds, and travel delays over the next couple of days as a potent Pacific system arrives in British Columbia.
High winds could lead to localized power outages, rough surf, and travel disruptions.
Special weather statements are in effect ahead of the system’s arrival on Sunday night.
Significant storm arrives on the West Coast
Areas: South Coast
Timing: Through next week
Weather: A large dip in the jet stream will send an active storm track streaming over the West Coast as we end September, allowing several moisture-laden systems to sweep through the region.
The first system arrives on Sunday and lasts through Monday, spreading gusty and possibly even damaging winds across Vancouver Island and exposed coastal regions.
Winds will peak overnight Sunday into Monday morning, with gusts near 80 km/h for northern sections of the Strait of Georgia, 90 km/h for west Vancouver Island, and 40-60 km/h across the west end of the Lower Mainland.
Trees in the region are stressed and still have full foliage, which could boost the risk for downed trees and power lines in spots. Residents should prepare for the potential for localized power outages, as well as the risk for travel disruptions heading into Monday.
These rounds of precipitation could offer much-needed relief to areas that have spent the majority of summer covered by the highest level of drought on Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) scale to measure the impact of abnormally dry conditions.
Forecasters have high confidence in the arrival of a pattern change, but medium confidence in precipitation totals throughout the week. We’re likely on track to see 50-100+ mm of rain across the Lower Mainland over the next seven days, with the potential for 200 mm of precipitation falling at higher elevations. Alpine snow is possible at times for areas above 2000 m.
The arrival of bountiful rains is an abrupt turnaround for parts of the region. Even though summertime is typically B.C.’s driest stretch of the year, Vancouver had only seen about 16 percent of its usual September rainfall through September 20.
Unfortunately, many areas throughout the Interior that desperately need precipitation will miss out on significant amounts of beneficial rain. The slug of Pacific moisture will wring itself out over coastal communities, not leaving much left to arrive in the Okanagan or points east.
WATCH: Rain heads to B.C., but will it help the most parched regions?
Atmospheric river ranked as Category 3
An atmospheric river streaming in from the Pacific will give these systems plenty of moisture to work with.
The impending slug of moisture will rank as a Category 3 on the University of California San Diego’s atmospheric river scale, which ranks the duration and magnitude of these plumes of moisture as they stream into the West Coast.
Category 3 atmospheric rivers are both beneficial and hazardous, bringing quenching rains that could also lead to localized flooding if it falls too quickly.
Stay with The Weather Network for all the latest on conditions across B.C.