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Metro Vancouver under rainfall warning with powerful gusts also expected

West Vancouver, B.C. -

 A powerful storm system is making its way across the South Coast of British Columbia, bringing heavy rain and strong wind gusts.

It has triggered a weather warning from Environment Canada for Metro Vancouver.

The North Shore, including West Vancouver and North Vancouver, Metro Vancouver northeast, including Coquitlam and Maple Ridge, and Howe Sound are all under a rainfall warning.

Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Surrey, Langley, Richmond and Delta are under a less severe special weather statement.

Environment Canada says the cold front will arrive Thursday afternoon, bringing heavy rain between 50 and 70 millimetres.

The storm is arriving in the form of two atmospheric rivers, a term used to describe a large amount of moisture streaming in from the tropics.

The first event arrived Wednesday night, with the second expected to arrive Thursday during the day.

It’s the first storm this season that will combine heavy rain and wind together to kind of impact the drought landscape.

“Atmospheric rivers can be beneficial depending on how often or frequently they come. Definitely we don't want back to back atmospheric rivers,” said Derek Lee, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

Lee says the atmospheric rivers will not be as intense or unrelenting as the ones that led to widespread flooding and landslides across the province last fall.

“That's what happened last year, which caused a lot of rainfall in a short duration of time. However, a few atmospheric rivers with days in between may be kind of beneficial for our current drought conditions,” said Lee.

Ten regions in B.C. are still under the highest drought rating and the Sunshine Coast is under a state of emergency due to critically low reservoir levels.

“A lot of rainfall will be good in replenishing the rain that we've missed out on for September and even into parts of October. So hopefully by the end of this month, we'll see some significant rainfall but not in, you know, back to back heavy events to kind of help replenish that rain that has been missing,” said Lee.

Environment Canada says B.C. has seen less than 50 per cent of the rain it should have for this time in October.

Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads and localized flooding in low-lying areas will be possible Thursday.

Strong southeast winds of 60 kilometres per hour, gusting to 80 near the Strait of Georgia, are also expected.

“The winds are also going to play a factor in that too, because the trees are somewhat drought weakened, but we don't know the effects yet,” said Lee.

BC Hydro is anticipating an unprecedented number of power outages as a result.

Heavy rain will taper off and winds will weaken early Thursday night. Top Stories

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