British Columbia

Rainy July eases drought conditions across B.C.

The B.C. River Forecast Centre says rain in the past week has eased drought conditions throughout much of the province.

After hot, dry May and June, much of province is now at near-normal conditions

The west of Vancouver Island had been nearing a Level 4 drought, the highest rating for dry conditions. As of July 11, the area has been downgraded to a Level 2 rating. (Gib Etheridge)

Rain in the past week has eased drought conditions throughout much of the province, the B.C. River Forecast Centre says.

The west of Vancouver Island has seen the most significant improvement, where recent river levels in some areas were at the lowest lows ever recorded for that time of year. 

"West Vancouver Island went from teetering at a Level 4, but as of July 11, the decision has been made to downgrade it to Level 2," said Jonathan Boyd a hydrologist with the B.C. River Forecast Centre.

B.C. uses a four-level drought classification system with Level 1 being normal conditions and Level 4 describing extremely dry conditions. 

High-pressure ridges in May and early June brought extended high temperatures for five to seven days at a time, causing drought conditions to worsen.

But recent weather systems have brought significant rainfall, improving those conditions throughout the province.

However, it also brought historic flooding to the Chilcotin region, where 100 millimetres of rain fell in five days, creating what was described as a flood that would likely happen only once every 200 years.

The Fort Nelson area in the far northeast of B.C. is the only part of the province to hit a Level 4 designation this season, but rain in June and unsettled weather in July have downgraded drought levels there to almost normal.

Haida Gwaii and the far northwest of the province have received the least amount of rain, but a significant low-pressure system in expected that will likely bring down the drought rating there, according to Boyd.

WIth files from Matthew McFarlane

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