As summer transitions to fall, Island residents should prepare for wind and rain in the coming days, says Environment Canada.
A special weather statement was issued Friday, Sept. 22, warning of a significant fall storm for Vancouver Island the night of Sunday, Sept. 24. While summer brought drought conditions, Alyssa Charbonneau, Environment Canada meteorologist, said there will be a “big shift in the weather” with the stormy pattern expected by the end of this week in areas, including Nanaimo.
“We got a few showers coming through on Saturday, which is not going to give too much, but it will be a shift from having sunny days and really warm temperatures,” Charbonneau said. “But really Sunday night into Monday, we see a pretty strong, low-pressure system that’s approaching Vancouver Island. It’s going to bring widespread rain … we could see 15-25 millimetres, potentially, across parts of eastern Vancouver Island as well.”
She said the system is also set to bring 30-40-kilometre-an-hour winds, gusting to 60, which normally wouldn’t be cause for concern, but given dry conditions, could prove problematic.
“For the kind of winds we tend to get in the fall, it’s pretty run-of-the-mill for a storm,” said Charbonneau. “But given this is going to be our first brush with windier conditions, it could maybe cause a little bit more impact; some of the trees have been very dry, obviously, through the summer, this is going to be their first test.”
Some forecasts are calling for 30-40 millimetres of rain on Tuesday, Sept. 26, but it’s too early to say whether Nanaimo will actually see that much, she said.
“Potentially by the end of the week … you could see some rainfall totals that are pretty healthy, but once we get into middle of next week, there’s a little bit of uncertainty,” said Charbonneau. “Most of the models are forecasting some storms coming through, but there’s a bit of disagreement about just the timing and exactly where they’ll hit. So those final amounts that we’re seeing are still up in the air, but what is looking pretty certain is that we’re going get widespread rain.”
Local governments are aware of the situation.
In an e-mail, Evan Lloyd, City of Nanaimo emergency program manager, said the city relies on Environment Canada and the B.C. Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness’ assessments for weather-driven hazards and prepares accordingly.
Likewise, the Regional District of Nanaimo emergency services team said it is continuing to monitor alerts and co-ordinate with partners and response agencies as required.
Both the city and the RDN advised residents to check gutters, storm drains, culverts, ditches and catch basins to ensure they are clear.
Charbonneau advised that weather is subject to change and to check the latest forecasts.
Nanaimo area residents can sign up for emergency alerts by going to http://www.rdn.bc.ca/voyent-alert.
Looks like we may be in for some heavy rain next week. Make sure to check storm drains, culverts, ditches and catch basins around your property and clear away any debris blocking them. Thanks for your help in reducing the risk of flooding, #Nanaimo! https://t.co/YWcBNoQOvR #YCD pic.twitter.com/8YP4nRufSY— City of Nanaimo (@cityofnanaimo) September 22, 2023