The first atmospheric river of the season hit the South Coast this week, with the BC Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness advising people to get ready.
“People can expect seasonal stormy conditions and are encouraged to take steps to prepare for the increased rainfall and the possibility of flooding,” an October 16 statement from the ministry advised.
“Following a season of severe drought and wildfire, rainfall on impacted areas can generate high surface water runoff and erosion due to a lack of vegetation, leading to a possibility of localized flooding and landslides, although widespread or severe impacts are not expected as part of this atmospheric river system.”
However, it noted high streamflow advisories for several rivers in the North and South Thompson regions, underscoring the risks.
While irrigation bans across the province ended September 30, drought ratings for the province as of October 12 remained elevated. A total of seven basins, including much of Northeast BC and the central interior remain at the most extreme Level 5 drought, while 14 basins concentrated in the southern Interior as well as the East Kootenay are at Level 4.
Just four of the province’s 33 water basins are not prone to adverse impacts due to drought at this point. All are located in Northwestern BC.
The province will update its drought ratings on October 19.