Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Vancouver Island and parts of the B.C. coast ahead of the region’s first autumn storm.
Strong winds are expected to sweep western and northern Vancouver Island starting Sunday evening through Monday morning.
Winds of up to 90 km/h are predicted to blow along western and northern Vancouver Island, while winds between 60 to 80 km/h are forecast for the inner South Coast.
The wind is expected to be accompanied by rain, with West Vancouver Island seeing 50 mm Sunday night, and the northern Strait of Georgia seeing 30 mm.
“The main event is Sunday into Monday, then dragging on right through the middle of the week. But for the South Island we’ll be lucky if we hit 10 millimeters of rain,” said Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan.
With high winds expected, Castellan expects the major concern will be damage and power outages caused by trees that are more likely to fail and break after sustained drought conditions.
On Thursday, the B.C. Ministry of Forests said that the amount of rainfall is “substantial” over the next week, but does not exceed the usual amount that is expected for a fall storm on Vancouver Island.
“Although severe flooding is unlikely as a result of the upcoming storm, we’ll be monitoring the situation closely as rivers and streams may rise rapidly for the first time in months,” said the ministry.
“It’s important to be aware of conditions and expect sudden increases in water levels during rainfall events.”
Dave Campbell of the River Forecast Centre calls the rainfall much needed, but it doesn’t begin to address the region’s drought conditions.
“It’s not going to be enough rain to reset everything and get us out of the deep drought we’re in,” said Campbell.
Late Friday afternoon, a high streamflow advisory was in issued for all of Vancouver Island as well as parts of the coast.
A high streamflow advisory means “river levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly, but that no major flooding is expected,” according to the province.
Some minor flooding is possible in low-lying areas, notes the province.
Environment Canada notes that the wind advisory may be upgraded to a weather warning as the system arrives.