Jim Andrews

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Canada Drought Taking a Toll

October 08, 2012; 7:25 AM

Drought along Canada's west coast has begun to cause problems for some residents of British Columbia.

Rivers have shrunk, shriveled by record low rainfall, the Vancouver Sun website said.

On both sides of the international borders, the dearth of rainfall in the Pacific Northwest has left residents eagerly awaiting the first fall storms.

One example of the stress put on people and property, owing to drought, was that of the Cowichan River watershed on Vancouver Island, according to the Sun.

The Cowichan River is a risk of running "bone dry" if soaking rains do not begin soon, the Sun said.


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The flow of the Cowichan River is vital to water-dependent industry as well as area salmon runs. Low flow could adversely affect an area paper mill, hamper migrating salmon and even hit local water supplies, the Sun indicated.

Summer is normally a time of low rainfall, and stream flow typically lowers, recovering with the onset of fall storms.

This year, almost no rain has fallen since late July in the southwest of British Columbia.

At Victoria, rainfall since the 24th of July has been only 0.16 of an inch, or a mere 5 percent of the normal amount, data available to AccuWeather.com.

Data from the Environment Canada website gave much the same indication for Nanaimo, where rainfall beginning late July has been only 0.27 of an inch.

On the mainland, Vancouver has had only 0.31 of an inch, or 6 percent of its normal rainfall, for the same time interval.

Furthermore, the lack of rain has coincided with above-normal temperatures, the likely result of which is above-normal rates of evaporation.

Going forward, a change in weather patterns over the region could lead to onset of wetting rain.


High pressure that has shunted Pacific storms north to Alaska, fostering dry weather in the Northwest, will break down late in the week, Pacific giving storms an opening into British Columbia.

In the meantime, southern British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest as a whole will have to face at least another several days of no rain and above-normal temperatures.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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About This Blog

Jim Andrews
The International weather blog from AccuWeather.com is written by Jim Andrews who has more than 10 years experience forecasting outside the United States.