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Why parts of B.C. are in an 'unprecedented' dry streak

Tuesday, November 5th 2019, 8:10 pm - When will this dry spell end?

Fall 2019 is turning out to be a series of sticky situations for British Columbia -- sticky weather patterns, that is.

While October finished up with near-normal precipitation in Vancouver and environs, it wasn't a long, dreary month, with most of the rain falling in three major events, spaced out by decent dry gaps.

One of those October dry spells has followed us into a new month. Vancouver International hasn't reported any precipitation at all since October 25, meaning the month closed out on the longest dry streak on record -- a streak that's still racking up days.

A persistent, resilient ridge of high pressure off the west coast is responsible for these repeated dry patches, deflecting storms that would otherwise sail into the coast to the north and south. While these kinds of offshore ridges aren't particularly unusual, this isn't the time of year you'd expect to see them.

So when does the rain return?

Some guidance suggests the best chance will come on Thursday, as a low pressure centre rides up the western side of the ridge and might sneak some showers into the region. Other models point to late this weekend, showing the ridge faltering in its strength and allowing some rain to move into the South Coast.

But both scenarios are far from a sure thing, with other models amplifying -- that is, strengthening -- the ridge even further into next week.

The stagnant weather pattern has also meant a healthy helping of morning fog up and down the coast of the Pacific Northwest, a feature that's likely to be repeated for at least one more day before Thursday's potential system stirs things up a little.

Thumbnail image courtesy Donna Dubas.

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