‘Atmospheric river’ is forecast to hit Island’s west coast this weekend

WatchA powerful rainstorm is brewing off the West Coast tonight, forecast to deliver over 100 mm of precipitation in the next 48 hours.

Dan Gray lives for days like Qualicum Beach experienced Friday. A high tide was eating at the artist’s foothold on the beach as a massive storm was brewing off the coast, charging the air as he worked on his canvas.

“It’s the light, it’s the fast-moving weather,” said Gray.

“That’s why I’m here. You know there’s going to be energy.”

Environment Canada has issued a rainfall warning for West and North Vancouver Island.

Officials say the coming system could be the biggest rainstorm of the fall so far for many parts of Vancouver Island.

“An atmospheric river,” said Environment Canada Meterologist Armel Castellan.

“It’s really the first tropical origin storm that we’re seeing this fall.”

Mainroad Contracting is expecting the greatest rainfall, 112 millimetres between Port Alberni and Tofino.

“There’s a lot of rain associated to it,’ said Castellan.

“You know some locations like Zeballos might see upwards of 200 millimetres,” he said.

So public work crews were busy clearing storm drains to make way for the huge rainfall on the way.

“And it’s bringing in a lot of rain,” said Qualicum Beach Public Works’ Lynette Twigg.

“So we’re trying to ensure that our drains are clear and accesses are available because there will be a lot of leaves come down as well.”

Trees are also a major concern ahead of the storm. Winds were forecast to hit up to 90 kilometres an hour on West Vancouver Island Saturday morning.

Austin Klassen of Clean Cut Tree Service said says his company had been racing to keep up with all the calls ahead of this storm.

“After how many trees came down in that terrible windstorm last year,” said Klassen.

“Yeah it’s been, people aren’t taking any chances anymore.”

On the bright side, the rains accompanying the storm will replenish reservoirs that have been lowered by what’s been a very dry November so far. Just 10 per cent of what typically falls in this stormy month has hit the ground and this Pineapple Express is expected to push those water levels a lot higher in the weekend to come.

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