Intense storm sets one day record in Victoria, sparks lightning fires in Gold River

Intense storm sets one day record in Victoria, sparks lightning fires in Gold River

For the first time in all of June, Irene Myrfield was dodging rain puddles on her morning walk Thursday after a sudden soaking of rain fell and a brought relief to Vancouver Island.

“When I woke up this morning and heard the rain,” said Myrfield.

“A relaxation calm comes over me.”

Streams and rivers picked up speed and the ground was a shade darker after Wednesday’s rain. The rain comes after an extended drought led to parched forests this June, a month that typically sees more rain than July and August.

“This is exactly what we expect and need in June,” said Coastal Fire Centre Information officer Dorthe Jakobsen about the rain.

“So the forests get rehydrated for the hot, dry summer.”

The rainfall ranged from 10 millimetres in some parts of the Island to close to 30 millimetres.

In Victoria, it was record-breaking.

“At the international airport, we saw 19.6 (mm) as of 10 o’clock this morning,” said Environment and Climate Change Canada Meteorologist Armel Castellan.

“And we could still get a couple more drops but that’s easily a record for the 27th of June. But what’s more impressive is that we haven’t seen 20 mm fall in June since 1992.”

The Coastal Fire Centre said the forest floor is still very dry though.

“It tells me that we still need more to soak in,” said Jakobsen.

And when the thunder rolled over Gold River Wednesday night, lightning strikes were close behind.

“We did get a number of lightning strikes overnight and we have had reports of trees on fire,” said Jakobsen.

“Spot fires that we are actioning today.”

Fortunately, those small starts didn’t gain traction and with more rain in the forecast, no campfire ban is in effect this long weekend.

But fire officials are urging people to be cautious as much more rain is needed.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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