British Columbia

B.C.'s South Coast could see more rain this weekend than during all of March

The weather agency is forecasting a number of poor weather systems for the region, beginning late Thursday and carrying on until Sunday.

Between 40 and 70 millimetres forecast for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

A woman uses an umbrella to shield herself from the rain while walking across the plaza outside City Hall in Surrey, B.C., in February. Parts of the Lower Mainland could be in for more rain over the next week than the amount that fell during the entire month of March. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Parts of B.C.'s South Coast could see more rain over the weekend than during the entire month of March, according to forecasts.

Environment Canada is expecting a number of stormy weather systems for the region, beginning late Thursday and continuing until Sunday. The Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island should brace for anywhere from 40 to 70 millimetres of precipitation during that time.

That would far surpass amounts Vancouver and Abbotsford, for example, saw during an "exceptionally" dry March: only 31 and 42 millimetres, respectively — around a third of their average amounts.

Vancouver looked like this a few days ago. Not anymore. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The rain will be a marked departure from that.

"It's really a change in the weather pattern," said Environment Canada meteorologist Matt MacDonald. "But, you know, 40 to 70 millimetres isn't astronomical. I think it's just because it's been so dry, this will be particularly noteworthy. It's been a long time since we saw any significant rainfall in the region."

Higher elevations, like Howe Sound and the North Shore mountains, could see upwards of 80 or 90 millimetres of rain over the four-day period.

High winds are also expected to begin overnight Friday and peak on Saturday morning. The west coast of Vancouver Island could see gusts as strong as 70 km/h.

MacDonald said there's little risk of localized flooding simply because the ground is drier than usual. If anything, he said, the change in the weather is welcome relief.

"I think this transition to the weather pattern is a good news story, for the most part," the meteorologist said. "It'll help alleviate some of the early wildfires we've seen so far this season and bring some much-needed rain to local streams and rivers."

Fire crews and officials across B.C. are already preparing for the summer wildfire season, following the two most destructive wildfire seasons recorded in B.C.'s history.

One fire north of Squamish, believed to be sparked by people, grew to 50 hectares in two days this week. Two more grass fires in the Interior grew to 100 and 250 hectares in size — "a little bigger than average" for the time of year, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service.

Fire information officer Jody Lucius said the severity of wildfires this spring depends largely on the weather and rainfall in April.

With files from Amy Bell and Clare Hennig

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