There are two more atmospheric rivers in BC’s forecast over the next few days, but neither is expected to be as intense as the one that triggered widespread flooding and landslides last week.
Environment and Climate Change Canada said these atmospheric rivers, which are expected to hit the south coast Thursday and Saturday, are part of a “parade of storms” approaching as several communities remain inundated in the southwest of the province.
“We’re not necessarily looking at the same heavy amounts (of rain) as two weekends ago, but we’re looking at a really strong signal throughout the weekend, and until next week we continue to ‘have active storms,’ said Armel. Castellan, Environment Canada warning preparedness meteorologist.
The first weather system is expected to deliver rain and warm tropical air on Thursday, which could lead to snowmelt at higher elevations. Castellan said more than 100 millimeters are expected over the north coast mountains, while parts of the Fraser Valley could see between 40 and 75 millimeters.
A short break is planned before the arrival of the next atmospheric river on Saturday afternoon.
Atmospheric rivers are defined as long, narrow streams with a high concentration of water vapor that can provide intense amounts of precipitation over a short period of time. The one that struck last week dumped a month of rain in parts of British Columbia in less than 48 hours.
This summer’s intense heat waves and years of destructive forest fire seasons have increased the likelihood of landslides and flooding, Castellan added, noting that parts of the south coast also recorded more than 200%. of their normal precipitation this season.
“So a lot of this moisture that comes in is more immediately a runoff issue,” he said.
Environment and Climate Change Canada has been working with Emergency Management BC for days to provide the most up-to-date forecast, the meteorologist said, but it is difficult to determine where natural disasters such as landslides could occur.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday morning, Deputy Prime Minister Mike Farnworth said the government was preparing for upcoming storms and urged the public to stay abreast of weather warnings and alerts in the meantime.
There was no warning in effect for the Lower Mainland as of early Monday afternoon.
Experts have warned that extreme weather events like the ones British Columbia has experienced this year are likely to become more frequent – and more destructive – as global temperatures rise due to man-made climate change.
“Climate change is here and I think what we saw last weekend is obviously the result,” Farnworth said. “We know climate change is upon us. We know that more and more of these events are happening. “
Officials on Saturday confirmed that Environment and Climate Change Canada is working on a new rating system to warn people of the severity of incoming atmospheric rivers.
Farnworth said the ranking, due to launch in January, will allow officials to “prepare more effectively” for potential disasters.