'Atmospheric river' brings heavy rainfall to Metro Vancouver and Sunshine Coast
'It will feel like we are at the end of a fire hose aimed right at the South Coast'
Environment Canada has issued a heavy rainfall warning for Metro Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast, beginning Friday morning until Sunday night due to an "atmospheric river" expected to bring 75 to 150 mm of rain.
As of 9:30 a.m. PT Friday, BC Hydro was reporting that approximately 4,000 customers in Kitsilano and 500 customers in West Vancouver were without power due to fallen trees on power lines.
Atmospheric rivers are like rivers in the sky, which transport large amounts of water vapour from the equator northward.
CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe said the weather system will be bringing a long episode of heavy rain to the South Coast.
"The atmospheric river is hitting the South Coast through Friday and into the weekend, basically a plume of moisture, bringing all of that rain from the western Pacific and it will feel like we are at the end of a fire hose aimed right at the South Coast," explained Wagstaffe.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the U.S., atmospheric rivers can bring large quantities of rain that can cause flooding, and also increase snowpack, the accumulation of snow in high elevation areas that feed streams and rivers when it melts.
Wagstaffe said the atmospheric river hitting the province will bring a lot of rain, gusty winds and rising temperatures.
She said October has already been a much wetter month than previous years.
"October rainfall averages for Vancouver [is] about 186 mm. So with the rain that we've already seen this month, we will definitely surpass that average. We might end up with one of our wettest October on record."
People are being warned that heavy rain could affect driving conditions, and cause flash flooding and water to pool on roads.
Wagstaffe added this month could also be one of coolest Octobers on record, with temperatures yet to hit the seasonal high of 15 C.