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South coast cities record wettest fall on record as atmospheric river drenches B.C.

An Environment Canada meteorologist said that several B.C. cities are recording their wettest fall on record as the third atmospheric river this week hits B.C.

During a livestreamed update early Tuesday (Nov. 30) afternoon, Armel Castellan said that weather stations at the Vancouver International Airport, Abbotsford, Nanaimo and Victoria had recorded the most precipitation to date.

Castellan said the precipitation had come from sub-tropical areas and travelled to B.C. via an atmospheric river.

“Overnight, we have seen upwards of 50 millimetres and close to 70 millimetres for places like Hope,” Castellan said, adding that heavy rain was likely to continue until Wednesday night.

“Those quantities are going to be perhaps dangerous and impactful, not only because the rain is plentiful and copius, not only because the freezing levels are extraordinarily high – upwards of 3,000 metres, above most mountain tops – but also because snow has fallen in certain places along the central and north coast recently.”

Three back-to-back storms have not helped, either, the meteorologist said.

But something else could: a break in the rain for the second half of Thursday and Friday until a “little system” of rain comes through into Saturday.

“But it is not a potent atmospheric river,” Castellan said.

But there is a lot of rain between now and that end-of-week break.

“What we’ll see on the central coast in particular are values of 100-150 millimetres of rain. Deeper inland, closer to Bella Coola, those values are still very strong – upwards of 100 millimetres potentially,” he said.

“There is a very real risk of flooding and debris flows up on the central coast and as this event slumps south and becomes more intense overnight, we will see those same kinds of numbers, over 100 millimetres, for the west coast of Vancouver Island and into the southern parts of the Sunshine Coast.”

Castellan said Vancouver will get 50-60 millimetres over these 48 hours, but that cities like Abbotsford and Chilliwack could see upwards of 70 or 80 millimetres of rain, while Hope could see above 100 millimetres.

Further into the southern interior would not be spared, including along the Coquihalla and along Highway 3 between Hope and Princeton.

“These conditions really need to be taken seriously.”


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Katya Slepian

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Katya Slepian

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