Screenshot from the B.C. Drought Levels Map, updated August 1. Green means ‘normal’ and yellow means ‘dry,’ while orange means ‘very dry.’

Drought ratings drop amid soggy conditions on Vancouver Island

July saw steady rainfall following drought-like conditions

Provincial authorities reduced drought ratings for Vancouver Island following rainy weather throughout the month of July.

The change from drought-like conditions is good news for fish, much of the agricultural industry and everyone concerned about wildfires, said Jonathan Boyd, a hydrologist with the provincial River Forecast Centre.

“It was not looking good province-wide for droughts,” Boyd said in a telephone interview. “It looked like the province was heading into groundbreaking record territory for how dry it was going to be.”

Steady rainfall in July caused streamflows to bounce back from levels that were among the lowest ever recorded in June, Boyd said.

“Because we’ve had just these consistent, reasonably-sized rain events, flows have recovered quite a bit,” he said.

However, he noted that some waterways on eastern Vancouver Island were still considered “very dry,” including Black Creek, French Creek and several rivers, including the Chemainus.

READ MORE: Conditions ‘very dry’ in Campbell River and across Vancouver Island despite rainfall

READ MORE: Trout and coho stranded in pools with reduced food amid drought on North Island

The Comox Airport weather station saw its eighteenth wettest July on record, according to Environment Canada data going back 125 years.

Precipitation recorded at that location was 179 per cent the norm, with 48 mm total compared to a norm of 26.7 mm.

Meanwhile, Port Hardy’s rainfall was almost double the norm by Tuesday, according to Boyd.

In Campbell River, the difference was less extreme, with rainfall reaching nearly 53.2 mm by Tuesday, compared to normal levels of 39.4 mm for the month of July.

Soggy conditions persisted on Aug. 1 with a rainfall warning covering much of eastern Vancouver Island, including Campbell River.

Up to 50 mm of rain was expected as Environment Canada warned of an “unseasonably strong Pacific frontal system.”


@davidgordonkoch
david.koch@campbellrivermirror.com

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