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Atmospheric river takes rare path, localized flood threat for parts of B.C.

Thursday, October 28th 2021, 8:46 pm - Heavy rain continues for southern Vancouver Island today, with snowfall also impacting travel through major highway passes.

Drier days are ahead for B.C., but first, the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island have a rainy night ahead of them, though the last drops from this epic Pacific soaking should peter out by the morning hours – as should the snow in the mountain passes. Beyond is a well-deserved break thanks to a recurving typhoon in the western Pacific. Take a more detailed look below.

Visit our Complete Guide to Fall 2021 for an in-depth look at the Fall Forecast, tips to plan for it and much more!

INTO FRIDAY: ATMOSPHERIC RIVER SET-UP TAKES AIM AT THE B.C. COAST, AGAIN

Rainfall warnings were still in effect for some of the populous parts of B.C. Thursday night, including Greater Victoria, Metro Vancouver, and the Fraser Valley.

The deluges are fueled by a plume of Pacific moisture aimed squarely at Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, making for a very soggy Thursday for those areas.

The heaviest amounts of rain are expected in the Fraser Valley and on the island, where rain totals could reach and even exceed 100 mm by the time the last drops fall early Friday morning.

B.C. Rainfall Lower Mainland

Vancouver itself and parts of Metro Vancouver are more in line for 20-40 mm through this event.

This whole setup is taking advantage of a few rare factors that allow this moisture flow to thread the needle between the Olympic and Vancouver Island mountains, allowing heavy rain to drench the provincial capital – typically one of B.C. coast's drier locations, the province's rainy reputation notwithstanding.

Rainfall totals near 50 mm will be possible for Victoria, joining only a handful of October rain events from the historical record to reach those totals.

VictoriaRain

"Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads. Localized flooding in low-lying areas is possible," says Environment and Climate Change Canada in the rainfall warning.

The southerly track of the low will also allow snow to fall all the way down at pass level, leading to difficult travel along major routes through the interior including the Coquihalla.

BCPasses (1)

The Coquihalla Pass will notch the highest totals, 10-20 cm, but most other passes will be in the 5-10 cm range.

"Weather in the mountains can change suddenly resulting in hazardous driving conditions," ECCC says in the special weather statement for the Coquihalla Highway.

LOOK AHEAD: MUCH-NEEDED BREAK FROM THE STORMY PATTERN, UNUSUALLY WEATHER PLEASANT HALLOWEEN

Beyond the next system, a much-needed break from the stormy pattern is expected -- with drier weather and sunshine late week and the weekend, lingering into next week. In fact, the break from the stormy pattern for the coast is due in part to a recurving typhoon in the western Pacific.

Abundant sunshine is in store this weekend for the South Coast, with unusually pleasant weather for Halloween.

Be sure to check back for the latest updates on the weather in B.C.

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