Weekend storm brings B.C. only modest relief from drought, but more rain to come

VANCOUVER — Several days of heavy rain over British Columbia's central and south coasts have only slightly eased drought conditions gripping the region.

The province's online drought map shows the Nicola, Coldwater, Finlay and Parsnip basins are ranked at drought Level 4 and have been joined by the Lower Mainland and west Vancouver Island, which are down a notch since being assigned the most severe ranking of Level 5 earlier this month.

Level 4 means adverse drought impacts are likely, while Level 5 means those damaging effects are almost certain.

The Sunshine Coast, east Vancouver Island, eastern Pacific Range, Kettle and entire northeast corner of B.C., remain at Level 5, despite recent downpours that dumped between 50 and 70 millimetres of rain on Sunday.

Environment Canada says the Sunshine Coast community of Sechelt got just over 64 millimetres of rain this month, well below its average of 200 millimetres, and not enough to lift water restrictions as a key Sechelt-area reservoir is at critically low levels.

The storm prompted high streamflow advisories for waterways across Vancouver Island and the central and south coasts, but the River Forecast Centre expected levels to peak by late Monday, while another powerful rainstorm could arrive by the end of the week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2022.

The Canadian Press