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‘Sustained shift’ to cooler, wetter weather predicted as rain returns to Sechelt

Between 20 and 70 millimetres of rain could fall by next Friday – signalling a return to typical fall weather patterns, says Environment Canada.
Rain falls at Roberts Creek junction on Friday, Oct. 21.

While minimal rain fell on the Sunshine Coast on Friday, the precipitation signals a change in weather patterns expected to last until at least early November, according to Environment Canada.

The Oct. 21 rainfall on Sechelt was a “slight amount,” Environment Canada meteorologist Alyssa Charbonneau told Coast Reporter, “however, this first rain is opening the door to a much wetter pattern going forward. And there’s the potential for a fair amount of rain coming into next week.”

Modelling predicts between 30 and 50 millimetres of rain to fall on Sechelt by Friday, Oct. 28. Rain is also predicted for the rest of the lower Sunshine Coast. 

On Oct. 20, a day before rain arrived, temperature peaked at 19.3 degrees C in Sechelt, breaking the previous record of 17 C, set in 2003.

Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) manager of infrastructure services, Remko Rosenboom, said in an Oct. 13 update to the board that 150 mm of rain are needed to replenish supplies within the Chapman water system.  

The SCRD, District of Sechelt and shíshálh Nation are under a State of Local Emergency because of the strain on the Chapman system during the ongoing drought.

The drought level for the region remains Level 5 or Severe, as of Oct. 20, according to the Government of BC. 

The Sunshine Coast governments were the first to initiate a SOLE because of the drought afflicting the south Coast and Vancouver Island, according to Emergency Management BC, and as of Oct. 20 they remain the only jurisdictions with declared emergencies and emergency orders issued related to drought.  

Sechelt had received just nine millimetres of rain between early July and Oct 20, when it can usually expect an average of 200 millimetres. 

Records were also broken last weekend on the Sunshine Coast when Environment Canada’s automatic weather station in Sechelt recorded 23.3 C on Saturday and 23.5 on Sunday. The previous records were set on Oct. 15, 2017 when temperatures hit 17 C, and Oct. 16, 2015, when they reached 19.8 C. Record keeping began in 1956.

Charbonneau described the current weather change as a “sustained shift to a wetter pattern.”

What we’re seeing into the beginning of November is that this change to cooler and wetter and much more typical fall weather, it looks like it’s sticking around.”

Another la niña pattern is expected for the winter, which could bring with it cooler temperatures for B.C. and wetter conditions for the south Coast, “but it’s just one factor in how things play out,” said Charbonneau. La niña conditions were also present last winter.

With files from Connie Jordison and The Canadian Press