The good news is that B.C.’s prolonged deep freeze is about to end, replaced by more typical wet West Coast weather.
The bad news is that a long stretch of heavy rain is expected to hit the province’s South Coast early this week, resulting in an increased chance of flooding in the Metro Vancouver area.
“It actually looks like we’re going to see a pineapple express developing with temperatures warming up to nine or 10 degrees,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Trevor Smith.
A pineapple express is an informal term for an atmospheric river of moisture and warm air that flows north from the tropics.
The turn in weather is a dramatic change for the South Coast, which has seen freezing temperatures and higher-than-normal snowfalls for the last six weeks.
Warmer, rainy weather makes comeback
Smith said to expect rain “all day and all night” on Tuesday and Wednesday. He added that these kind of rain warnings are issued if more than 50 millimetres of rain is expected in a 24-hour period.
There’s also a heightened risk of flooding because the ground is frozen and less likely to absorb the rain.
Smith said residents can take precautions by ensuring that storm drains are cleared of debris or ice.
Some municipalities have already begun to prepare. Rob Costanzo, Surrey’s manager of engineering operations, said crews have been checking catch basins, inlets and culverts to ensure they’re clear.
Costanzo said city officials are concerned about the flood threat “especially since we had sub-freezing weather for a long period of time.
“That water has nowhere to absorb because the ground is frozen, lawns are covered in ice.”
Outside the South Coast, inland regions such as Howe Sound, Whistler, Squamish and the eastern Fraser Valley could see snow and freezing rain on Monday, Smith said.