A bomb cyclone set to cause havoc in California and along the Pacific coast of the U.S. has led to Environment and Climate Change Canada issuing a wind warning for coastal areas of Vancouver Island and the mainland.
While there will be strong winds and some rain late on Wednesday (Jan. 4) and into Thursday (Jan. 5), the Island won’t see the full power of the storm, which is set to weaken as it moves northwards, according to Alyssa Charbonneau, a meteorologist with ECCC.
Bomb cyclones are a type of low-pressure storm that deepens rapidly, intensifying by 24 millibars – a unit used to measure atmospheric pressure – within 24 hours. They are different from atmospheric rivers – a long, narrow band of high moisture air. Both can lead to strong winds and heavy rain, and can often coincide with each other.
Wind warnings are in place for both sides of the Strait of Georgia as well as the north and west of Vancouver Island as of Wednesday afternoon.
In Greater Victoria, along the Sunshine Coast, Southern Gulf Islands, and East Vancouver Island (Courtenay to Campbell River, Duncan to Nanaimo, Nanoose Bay to Fanny Bay), the weather alert warns of strong wind gusts that will reach 70 to 90 km/h from late Thursday afternoon to overnight. Winds will ease in southern areas first, then the northern sections Thursday night.
Northern Vancouver Island will see the strongest winds, gusting to 90 km/h except gusting to 110 over exposed coastal sections.
Along the west coast of Vancouver Island, strong wind gusts will reach nearly 100 km/h from late Thursday afternoon to later that night. Wind gusts will lower to 50 to 60 km/h late Thursday night.
In Howe Sound, the storm will result in northerly outflow winds of 70 km/h gusting to 90 developing late Wednesday afternoon over southern sections of Howe Sound. Winds are expected to ease Thursday afternoon. There may be a short burst of strong southerly wind on Thursday night.
California’s governor has declared a state of emergency as the storm hits the U.S. Pacific coastline.