Typhoon remnant-enhanced storm on track to hit Metro Vancouver tonight

Oct 15 2016, 4:00 pm

Conditions in the Lower Mainland are expected to rapidly deteriorate throughout the day as a powerful storm fuelled by the remnants of Typhoon Songda makes its way to the Pacific Northwest, affecting the entire coast from southern British Columbia to Oregon.

According to Environment Canada’s latest update this morning, the storm is now expected to directly hit southern Vancouver Island and Metro Vancouver this evening. Previous models had the storm possibly tracking through Washington State, but that has since changed to a path through the South Coast of BC.

No ordinary fall wind and rain storm

The first two storms since Wednesday were akin to typical fall storms that roll through BC, however the next storm has the makings to be the strongest storm to hit Metro Vancouver in many years.

A number of storms that pass through the Pacific Northwest every year are influenced by storm systems in the tropics, usually weaker tropical storms and tropical depressions.

But with today’s storm, it is directly enhanced by Typhoon Songda in the West Pacific when it was still a potent category 4 super typhoon. Songda ran into the jet stream, which broke up the typhoon and carried its moisture-rich and wind energy remnants.

The same jet stream is now delivering the storm to the BC South Coast at 300 km/hr at an altitude of 30,000 feet.

High winds, heavy rain, and lightning

The federal weather agency expects strong southeast winds of 60 km/hr to 100 km/hr to develop ahead of the storm in the South Coast late this afternoon, with winds strongest in Metro Vancouver from 9 pm to 2 am. Winds will then shift to southwesterly behind the low.

Some areas, such as the west coast of Vancouver Island and even parts of the Strait of Georgia, could see hurricane-force gusts of 120 km/hr.

“The third in a series of strong storms will approach the coast this afternoon with winds rising late this afternoon and reaching warning level this evening,” reads a statement by Environment Canada.

“The storm which carries energy and moisture from the remnants of Typhoon Songda is forecast to cross southern Vancouver Island this evening and then move onto the Sunshine Coast tonight.”

Over 50 mm of rain is expected to fall on Metro Vancouver, Howe Sound, and the eastern side of Vancouver Island.

Lightning storms from this storm system is possible later today and tomorrow.

“This system is compact in size, and convective in nature and thus thunderstorms may be associated at times today, and especially behind the system tomorrow,” continues the statement.

“As such, rainfall totals are harder to estimate than winds with this system. More rainfall warnings may be issued as Environment Canada meteorologists track the system through today and Sunday.”

Localized flooding and power outages possible

Low-lying areas could be particularly vulnerable to flooding given that the ground is saturated with water from the first two storms. Flooding is also possible from leaves that were blown down from the last two storms, as leaves can clog up drains and pipes.

And as most trees are still largely leafed, more branches or even entire trees could topple down. Most storm-related power outages in BC are caused by branches and trees falling onto hydro lines.

Washouts could also occur near rivers, creeks, and culverts, and mountainside slopes could become unstable, increasing the possibility of rockslides and landslides.

Shorelines near Vancouver should be avoided as very large waves, aided by storm surge, can be expected.

There were dozens of weather-related flight delays at Vancouver International Airport yesterday. YVR is advising passengers traveling today and tomorrow to check their airline before heading out to the airport.

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