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B.C.: Messy storm brings flood, avalanche, freezing rain risk

Saturday, January 18th 2020, 9:15 pm - Storm brings upwards of 100+ mm of rain, along with potential for localized flooding, avalanches and freezing rain

Low-elevation snow is all but over for the coasts in B.C., courtesy of temperatures closer to what the province is used to in January. However, that means copious amounts of rainfall raising flood risk at the lower elevations and avalanche danger at the upper elevations, with periods of freezing rain for the Fraser Valley as the day wears on. More on the timing and system impacts and risks, below.

January outlook: Checking in on winter in Canada with The Weather Network's Dr. Doug Gillham


  • Risk of localized flooding; upwards of 100+ mm of rain for parts of South Coast through Sunday
  • Freezing rain threat through Sunday
  • Threat level is high for avalanches this weekend
  • Rain continues until Monday, but break will be shortlived as more systems on the way
  • Stay aware of ALERTS in your area


Though parts of Metro Vancouver did pick up a bit more snow into early Saturday morning, it soon switched over to rain, and much of the coasts have instead experienced the kind of downpours that are the more typical mark of the season.

Through Sunday, western areas along the South Coast are expected to get upwards of 100+ mm of rain, central portions could see 50-75 mm while some parts of the eastern coast could see up to 50 mm in the same time period. The Lower Mainland Metro Vancouver could see 15-30 mm of rain.

BCSouthRain (1)

Milder air returned temperatures about-normal values Saturday, with more of the same Sunday, with daytime highs reaching to mid-to-upper single digits across most of the province. The warmer temperatures, combined with additional rainfall, will melt snow already on the ground, creating the threat for localized flooding in some lower elevations this weekend.

There is also the risk for freezing rain for Abbotsford through to Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon into Sunday morning, as warm air aloft pushes inland in the afternoon. Higher elevations are likely to see snow during that time.

BCsnow (5)

Total snowfall amounts will vary across the higher elevations, whereas 30-50 cm could fall at the alpine level along parts of the South Coast and the Fraser Valley, and 5-10 cm elsewhere, with pockets of up to 20 cm, through Sunday.

The rain and snow will wind down Monday afternoon, but another system will move into the province through the evening hours.


While a brief break in the rain and snow is expected Monday afternoon, another system is on the doorstep and will move in the evening hours for Vancouver Island and by pre-dawn hours Tuesday for the Lower Mainland.

Check back for the latest forecast updates.

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