Up to 60 mm of rain expected in Metro Vancouver starting Thursday

Dec 18 2019, 1:55 pm

Starting Thursday afternoon, between 40 and 60 mm of rain is expected across the Lower Mainland as well as a mix of wet snow and flurries on BC Highways.

According to Matt MacDonald, Meteorologist at Environment Canada, the storm-like conditions are the result of an incoming system called an “atmospheric river.”

“The next system is what we call an atmospheric river, sometimes called a pineapple express,” he tells Daily Hive in an interview. “It’s plumes of tropical moisture that’ll take aim at the coast.”

Fortunately, the South Coast won’t be receiving the brunt of the storm, as the centre of the system targets Washington and Oregon.

Still, 40 to 60 mm of precipitation is expected, with the possibility of a rainfall warning being issued.

“We’re in for a good soaking from Thursday to Friday afternoon — it’ll be a 24-hour period of moderate to heavy rain,” says MacDonald. “The North Shore, West Vancouver, and the Eastern Fraser Valley will likely see the most rain.”

There’s also a chance for wet snow at higher elevations, such as Simon Fraser University (SFU), Burnaby Mountain, and higher points of the North Shore and Tri-Cities.

“It’s good news for skiers and snowboarders,” he adds. “Ski hills could see 20 to 30 cm of snow tonight before the rain sets in.”

MacDonald also notes that a number of BC highways could be in for difficult travel conditions, specifically the Sea to Sky Highway, the Kootenay Pass, and Paulson Summit.

“The moisture [from the system] carries on into the interior,” he says. “Kootenay Pass and Paulson Summit could see 40 to 50 cm of snow. The Sea to Sky Highway should be ready for slushy conditions and possibly freezing rain.”

The atmospheric river is expected to continue throughout Saturday afternoon until a weak system takes its place on Saturday evening.

Fortunately, a dry spell is expected to come in on Sunday and remain for a few days. MacDonald recommends delaying provincial travel until Sunday, if possible.