Atmospheric river bringing days of heavy rain, strong winds to B.C.

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Days of heavy rain will persist in B.C. due to an upper trough and an atmospheric river, which will continue through the end of the week. Strong winds, the risk of thunderstorms and even high-elevation snow will persist through Thursday, followed by a brief period of calm weather on Friday. However, another wave of soaking rains will move in for the weekend, keeping conditions wet through Sunday. Details and timing, below.

WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

  • Heavy rain, winds for coastal areas, Lower Mainland through Thursday
  • Rain, high-elevation snow eases off Friday, but another round of soaking rains and gusty winds on the weekend
  • Pattern reversal next week, with extended period of warmer, drier weather

THURSDAY: HEAVY RAIN, STRONG WINDS, MOUNTAIN SNOW

The unrelenting rain will continue in B.C. through Thursday, thanks to an atmospheric river streaming in from the Pacific, as well as multiple systems tied to an upper low offshore.

Overall, up to 130 mm of rain is possible for parts of Vancouver Island and the South Coast, with most of Metro Vancouver in line for around 50-75 mm through Thursday.

There will also be a little bit of instability in the atmosphere, so the threat of non-severe thunderstorms can’t be ruled out across the province.

Environment Canada says that rainfall rates will weaken on Thursday, but a persistent onshore flow will cause showers that could be heavy at times.

“Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads. Watch for possible washouts near rivers, creeks and culverts,” warns Environment Canada.

Winds will be relatively calm on Thursday before intensifying again on Friday morning, when they will hit 50-70 km/h along coastal regions and the Strait of Georgia.

Alpine regions of the coastal mountains, as well as the Rockies, will continue to see snowfall, which is expected to linger until Friday. Amounts may accumulate to 5-10 cm. Freezing levels are currently at 2300 metres.

BEYOND: CLASSIC FALL PATTERN THROUGH WEEKEND

There won’t be much relief for the province any time soon, as a ‘classic’ fall pattern locks in through the weekend, with multiple systems moving in.

TIMING OF WEEKEND RAIN AND WIND

Beyond the weekend, a pattern reversal is in the forecast. An extended period of much warmer and drier weather will arrive early next week. The South Coast will feel like late summer for the first week of October, with temperatures reaching the mid- to upper-20s away from the coastline.

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