“Substantial amount” of rain needed on the island to reduce drought conditions



Light rain over parts of Vancouver Island on Thursday was a welcome sight for the drought-stricken region, but meteorologists say it’s nowhere near what we really need.

With the whole island now at Step 5 drought conditions, the highest possible, Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan says a tiny amount of rain is not going to cut it if we hope to see conditions improve.

“That’s a drop in an otherwise fairly empty bucket that has seen only 62% of normal precipitation since March,” Castellan said. “We’re several tens of millimeters, almost 100mm behind if you think about the deficit in March.”

“It’s a substantial amount, so obviously we’re going to have some big storms, but it will take a few more weeks, if not more, before we really get into that swing,” he said.

The situation became so dire in the Cowichan Valley that it had to create a new level of water restrictions, Stage 4, for more than 100 rural households facing the possibility of a lack of clean water and fire extinguishing capacity.

“We are simply asking these residents to restrict their use of water primarily to food preparation, hygiene and any health and safety needs they may have,” said Kris Schumacher, director of communications. of the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD).

With no rain in the forecast for the foreseeable future, Schumacher said the increased restrictions may need to be applied to more areas in the coming weeks.

“Sadly this is kind of the new normal for the Cowichan area at this time of year when we haven’t had rain for so long that we are getting used to implementing drastic emergency measures to keep this resource, ”said Schumacher.

While rain and cooler weather have reduced the fire danger level in parts of the island to moderate or low, it remains high or even extreme for most of the east side.

“We really need the rain to reduce the moisture content of the fuels available and available for burning, that’s what we really need, and the traces don’t really help, they complicate the problem a bit for the public. Said Pete Laing, prevention specialist at the Coastal Fire Center.

“We are getting traces of rain that don’t even get into the forest canopy and touch the ground right now, we need a fair amount of rain to get through the canopy and into the forest floor and going into those deeper layers as well, and that’s what we haven’t really seen anywhere on the coast yet, ”he said.

As temperatures on the island have cooled down to seasonal, there is currently no significant precipitation in the forecast.

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