Incoming atmospheric river prompts flood risk across British Columbia

·3 min read
Incoming atmospheric river prompts flood risk across British Columbia
Incoming atmospheric river prompts flood risk across British Columbia

After weeks of frigid and well below seasonal conditions, a more typical weather pattern is returning to British Columbia, with temperatures on the rise once again. Rounds of rain are set to impact the region as well, heightening the flood threat after recent blasts of heavy snow. While January is known as a wet month overall across the Vancouver area, just this week alone could bring about 100 mm of rain to the region. More on the timing and impacts to keep an eye on, below.

THIS WEEK: ROUNDS OF RAIN, WARMER TEMPERATURES HEIGHTEN FLOOD THREAT ACROSS THE LOWER MAINLAND

Special weather statements already span B.C.'s Lower Mainland, with a warmer and wetter pattern on tap for this week. Localized flooding and high stream levels are of major concern.

The rain will arrive in rounds this week, with the first being light in nature through Monday, swiftly followed by another slightly stronger system by Monday night. The warmth that will accompany these two systems will help to slowly melt some of the recent snow in lower elevations, hopefully reducing the snow load for buildings and structures.

BCRainSouth (2)
BCRainSouth (2)

The third system however, an atmospheric river, is set to move ashore Tuesday night, as a strong southwest flow develops, continuing well into the morning hours on Thursday. This system will be the one to keep a close eye on, bringing the heaviest amount of rain to the region.

"It's going to rain for 72 straight hours across the Lower Mainland," warns Tyler Hamilton, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

While the amount of rain over this period of time is not unpredecented, other factors at play could cause some "havoc," Hamilton says.

"Temperatures have been below average since Deccember 23, allowing snowpack at lower terrain to accumulate," Hamilton adds. "By Thursday, some locations could approach their monthly average rainfall totals; pairing this with significant lower elevation snowmelt will stress watersheds and tributaries across Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, pushing some to flood stage."

While January is typically known as a wet month in Vancouver with an average of 160 mm of rain, just this week alone could bring as much as 100 mm to the area.

BCJan
BCJan

Residents are being urged to clear catch basis from snow, and to make sure appropriate emergency supplies are on hand.

FLOOD RISK BUILDS ACROSS VANCOUVER ISLAND THIS WEEK

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Be sure to check back as we monitor the wet and warm pattern threatening B.C. this week.

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