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Chemainus region records 177 mm of precipitation during storm

Floodgates open with so much rain in such a short time
Vehicle is surrounded by a wall of water at the intersection of Crofton and Chemainus Roads. (Photo by Shawn Wagar)

It obviously rained a lot in a short time that led to the massive flooding around Chemainus, Crofton and Westholme.

For an indication of exactly how much, we turned to Chris Carss, a Chemainus weather observer who records data on a volunteer basis for Environment Canada.

He’s pegging the total at 177 millimetres of rain in the region for the duration of event.

Carss does two readings a day, based on a 4 a.m. to 3 p.m. time period and again from 3 p.m. to 4 a.m.

A whopping 98 mm of rain fell starting at 3 p.m. Sunday until Monday morning, combined with 79 mm from 3 p.m. on Nov. 13. He pointed out the heavy rainfall occurred over three calendar days, but only encompassed two 24-hour reading periods.

Carss was still getting back-up data to determine if any of this has been record-setting for the region.

Related story: Chemainus experiences 24-hour rainfall record

On Thetis Island, Keith Rush recorded 153.2 mm over the three days at his Foster Point Road residence.

The total included 48.1 mm Saturday, Nov. 13, 41.9 mm Sunday, Nov. 14 and 63.2 mm Monday.

“Wow, that was some rain,” he conceded.

The month to date on Thetis is now up to 295.6 mm, “which beats my long-standing November 2009 record of 271 mm,” Rush pointed out.

As for the atmospheric river that caused this weather event, “this seems to be a new term for the good old jet stream, that upper level wind circulation that determines the storm track at any given time,” Carss explained.

“In this case, the jet stream was coming from the southwest, i.e. Hawaii, so we had a particularly wet version of the familiar Pineapple Express, no doubt intensified by – you guessed it – global warming.”

Rainfall totals overall for November could be record-setting with several days still left in the month.

Roberta Hicks de Plumpton has a bird’s eye view of the flooding from her home on the Chemainus River. She grew up there so this is nothing new for her. (Photo by Roberta Hicks de Plumpton)
Water spills over the banks of the Chemainus River near the Chemainus River bridge and toward Roberta Hicks de Plumpton’s residence. (Photo by Roberta Hicks de Plumpton)
Aerial view of the Westholme flood zone that looks eerily similar to Feb. 1, 2020. (Photo by Shawn Wagar)

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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