Last in a series of atmospheric rivers targets B.C. with final soaking

Digital WritersThe Weather Network
Digital Writers

By Tuesday morning, significant rainfall will be impacting most of coastal and southern British Columbia, which is already contending with flooding and swollen waterways.

The third and final atmospheric river in a series of consecutive events is taking aim at B.C. Tuesday, once again exasperating the already flood-impact regions with another shot of excessive rainfall to the region. The good news is this particular event won't be nearly as impactful for the Lower Mainland as the first two, getting some protection from Vancouver Island. Special weather statements, rainfall and winter storm warnings have been issued and forecasters are warning that there is the potential for pooling water and flooding. See below for details and timing.

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Rainfall over coastal and southern regions of B.C. will begin early Tuesday morning. This is the third atmospheric river that has occurred in less than one week, meaning that many water-logged regions will face increased risks of pooling water and flooding.

For the Lower Mainland, this final atmospheric river won't be as impactful, thanks to blocking from Vancouver Island. The source of the moisture originated in the Philippines, taking a different direction on its 8,000-kilometre journey into the B.C. coast.

Periods of moderate to heavy rain will continue through Tuesday and Wednesday, with Tuesday evening being particularly heavy for the South Coast and Vancouver Island.


Western areas of Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley could see 100-200+ mm of rain and the Lower Mainland could see 40-125 mm through Wednesday. Forecasters say that the rainfall will not taper off until Thursday.

Environment Canada and Climate Change (ECCC) has issued special weather statements and rainfall warnings for the North, Central and South coasts, as well as the Lower Mainland. Meanwhile, winter storm warnings are in place for some of the mountain passes.

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“Heavy downpours can cause water pooling on roads. Localized flooding in low-lying areas is possible. Rising freezing levels and snowmelt may contribute to increased runoff,” states ECCC.

Freezing levels early Tuesday morning will initially be lower than 1500 metres, so alpine snow is possible. The freezing levels will soar near 3000 metres and remain high through Wednesday, which means the snow that fell in recent weeks will continue to melt, adding to the runoff swelling the province's rivers.

The avalanche danger rating is also forecast to be high for many alpine and treeline regions of the Rockies and Coastal Mountain Range Wednesday due to the oscillating freezing levels and weak snow layers. While freezing levels are expected to remain high Tuesday and Wednesday, loose snow layers and avalanches in steep terrain will persist.


The potent system will be accompanied by strong southeasterly winds with gusts up to 60 km/h near the Strait of Georgia.

A ridge of high pressure is forecast to finally bring some relief at the end of the week to southern B.C. However, more unsettled weather is likely for the weekend, albeit on a much weaker scale.


Check back as we continue to monitor the ongoing storm parade across British Columbia.