30-60mm Rain coming by Saturday Afternoon — Hope for Christmas?

Sorry for the late morning post, I wanted all the models to be out before getting this post up.

First things first… we have a bunch more rain to get through before Santa visits.

Wet and Windy Friday Night and Saturday

Dec20Rain24hr
The Valley is in green and pink so we’ll say between 30 and 60 (1.3in and 2.6in on the graph, if you’re wondering what the heck a “cin” or “centi-inch” is.. really America? Centi-inch? )

The image above shows accumulations between 4PM Friday and Saturday of up to 60mm.  It will taper off significantly.

This batch of rain should begin soon if it has not started to rain already as I type this but even though it will likely rain most of the night, the heaviest rain won’t come until around 3PM Saturday and then it should ease off Saturday evening and night.

The likeliest time for strong winds will be the very early morning of Saturday.  There is a wind warning posted for East Vancouver Island up to 80kph.

Soggy start to Sunday then drying.

There will be a few more showers to get through on Sunday before things dry out in the afternoon.  It should stay dry through most of Monday.

Christmas Week looks… interesting.

It will start off wet on Tuesday, but for the traditionalists among you, this might give you some hope:

Notice the report for 7AM Thursday December 25th... 1ºC with 2mm of "rain"?  Hmm... that's mighty close to freezing... we can hope at least. :)
Notice the report for 7AM Thursday December 25th… 1ºC with 2mm of “rain”? Hmm… that’s mighty close to freezing… we can hope at least. :)

SpotWX just updated their website with new graphing and visuals and it looks fantastic.  And the forecast from the Canadian medium range model for Christmas morning sure could get people excited.

But lets remember this is only one model, at one snapshot of time, and doesn’t actually predict snow to fall.

Other Models you ask?  Well, none of the other ones have such hints… so you’ll want to keep wishing for that Christmas Miracle.

I don’t intend to be posting too much over the next week or so unless conditions really warrant it.  So I wish you all a very very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season. I hope all of you can enjoy time with family and friends.

Sincerely,
Chris and Family at Alberniweather HQ. :)

Interesting 1935 Historic Flooding Photos in AVTimes

There is a cool short article in the AV Times this morning.

It includes this iconic picture from the very useful AV Museum archives of flooding of the Somass River along the old River Road.

From the AV Museum entry: "circa 1935-01-00 DescriptionA northward view of the 1935 winter flooding on River Road shows two men wading across the road as the Somass River (at left) floods its banks. The building at left (with a sign on it) appears to be either sagging or toppling from the flood damage. A fishboat further up River Road is tied to a telephone pole. Hydro poles are at right of image, while telecommunications poles are at left."
From the AV Museum entry: “circa 1935-01-00
A northward view of the 1935 winter flooding on River Road shows two men wading across the road as the Somass River (at left) floods its banks. The building at left (with a sign on it) appears to be either sagging or toppling from the flood damage. A fishboat further up River Road is tied to a telephone pole. Hydro poles are at right of image, while telecommunications poles are at left.”

Unfortunately it’s not clear the exact date, but it does seem to be January 1935.  So I went looking at the data for January 1935 at the Beaver Creek station.

They had rainfall on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th of January of 45, 45 and 14.5, 3 and then 33mm  That’s a fair amount in quick succession but not huge.  I looked back at December and turns out there was 65mm on December 31st 1934 as well.  So it was a very wet New Year!

That would equal 202mm over 6 days.    Not quite the scale of the 246mm we received over 4 days, but certainly enough to cause flooding.

But look further in the month and a key difference might come through.

From the AV Museum description: "A man is seen in the distance walking away from the camera down River Road. A fence is at left, with snow piles at right. Telephone power lines are on either side of the road. These are the effects of the 1935 winter flooding of the Somass River."
From the AV Museum description: “A man is seen in the distance walking away from the camera down River Road. A fence is at left, with snow piles at right. Telephone power lines are on either side of the road. These are the effects of the 1935 winter flooding of the Somass River.”

from the AV Museum Description: "An intact house stands in a flooded yard due to the 1935 winter flooding of the Somass River. A shed is visible alongside the fence at left of image. Some snow is on the ground. A building (possibly) is faintly visible across the river in the background. Stamped on back: "[...] CLEGG’S STUDIO / PHOTOGRAPHER / PORT ALBERNI, B.C. / Local Views of the District. [...]""
from the AV Museum Description: “An intact house stands in a flooded yard due to the 1935 winter flooding of the Somass River. A shed is visible alongside the fence at left of image. Some snow is on the ground. A building (possibly) is faintly visible across the river in the background. Stamped on back: “[…] CLEGG’S STUDIO / PHOTOGRAPHER / PORT ALBERNI, B.C. / Local Views of the District. […]””
There’s quite a bit of snow on the ground!  And indeed, the record for later in January shows what looks to be a cold snap that started not long after the heavy New Year rains!

Peaking on January 20 with a low of -8º C and a snowfall of 88cm in one day (!) followed by 4 days of rain totalling over 50mm and by the end of the month reaching 12ºC and another big chunk of rain!

So it is truly difficult to say whether these pictures are all from the same day or not.  I have a feeling though that the picture at the top of the page is from the end of the month long after the huge dump of snow melted and at the end of a very wet month indeed, so unfortunately, the two events seem not really comparable from a weather perspective even if they are from a flooding perspective.

We should remember that before WWII and the Tsunami, the former “Alberni” townsite (now Lower Johnston area of Port Alberni) had much lower banks to the River.  River Road was built up at some point to basically be a dyke itself, and then of course “the dyke” at Kitsuksis Creek was built to save those lower reaches.  In fact, I am willing to bet much of the historic flooding of old Alberni came not only from the Somass, but from the triple threat of at-capacity Kitsuksis and Rogers creek converging with an angry and full Somass River.

The lesson here perhaps is that we have done well to build our cities to manage the floods that we have historically experienced.  The question now is, how will our city do with potentially larger floods of the present and future?

I will be back tomorrow with an outlook for the weekend.  It shouldn’t cause flooding like we saw last week, but it’s still a bunch.