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Record-setting system lashes B.C. with damaging winds, rain, dangerous surf

Monday, October 25th 2021, 8:32 pm - An intense Pacific jet stream sent pressure values careening to unprecedented lows off the coast of British Columbia this weekend, and though the system is now weakening, it will still deliver strong winds and heavy rain through Monday.

A historically deep low pressure system continues to bring powerful winds and heavy rain to British Columbia, as well as dangerous surf across the west coast of Vancouver Island. Because of the slow inland progress of this system, it's resulting in a longer duration of strong winds, with gusty conditions expected to persist well into Monday evening. Wind warnings and special weather statements remain in effect, warning of the risk for tree damage and potential power outages. BC Ferries had also preemptively cancelled nearly two dozen sailings on Monday due to the winds. Yet another system arrives on the heels of the current historic storm, with additional heavy rainfall expected through the first half of this week. More on the timing, impacts and excessive totals, below.

MONDAY INTO TUESDAY: HISTORIC WEATHER BOMB LASHES B.C. WITH STRONG WINDS, HEAVY RAIN AND DANGEROUS SURF

The potent Pacific low that continues to impact B.C. on Monday had undergone rapid deepening in recent days as it trekked through the ocean and met the criteria of a weather bomb — when the pressure drops 24 millibars (mb) in 24 hours — in nearly 12 hours.

An intense Pacific jet stream actually sent pressure values careening to unprecedented lows. Buoy 46005 recorded a pressure of 942.5 mb on Sunday afternoon, which is a new Pacific Northwest pressure record. The previous record was 943 mb, which was recorded during post-tropical cyclone Harriet in 1977.

Though the system is now weakening, it will still deliver strong winds and heavy rain through Monday, as well as lashing the west coast of Vancouver Island with dangerous surf.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) issued wind warnings for parts of Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, and Howe Sound, which still remain in effect for the region.

"Strong winds will continue through the Straits Monday, with southerly gusts of 70-90+ km/h affecting many coastal areas including Victoria and southern parts of Metro Vancouver," warns Michael Carter, a meteorologist at The Weather Network, adding that due to the slow inland progress of this system, a longer duration of strong winds is expected, with gusty conditions persisting into Monday evening.

"The prolonged nature of this event may increase the risk for tree damage and power outages," Carter says.

HIGH WINDS CANCEL FERRY CROSSINGS AND KNOCK OUT POWER TO PARTS OF B.C.

According to BC Hydro, more than 16,000 customers were without power at one point on Monday morning, but is now down to more than 12,000.

BC Ferries had also preemptively cancelled nearly two dozen sailings on Monday due to the winds impacting Vancouver Island and the western part of Metro Vancouver.

WindGust BCStraits Past24

Through Monday, rainfall amounts will be excessive for some with between 100-150 mm expected for western Vancouver Island and the North Shore Mountains, while 50-75 mm is anticipated for the Lower Mainland.

Localized flooding and landslides are on the table in some areas as a result.

BCRain (10)

BEYOND: STORM PARADE REFUSES TO LET UP

Heavy rain will continue through much of the early part of this week as well, with yet another system coming at the heels of the current historic storm.

Though this next low will be taking a more northerly track, it will still supply additional moisture, allowing for additional rainfall totals at higher elevations to exceed 150 mm through Wednesday morning. Parts of the Vancouver Metro may see an additional 50-100 mm as well.

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

Thumbnail image courtesy: Kyle Brittain

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