Nanaimo is expected to be belted by at least three potentially dangerous and “historic” storms over the next few days.
Environment Canada has issued weather alerts for the Nanaimo region as it is forecasting heavy rain and powerful winds on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (Oct. 13-15).
Armel Castellan, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said that the series of storms is expected to impact most of Vancouver Island, including Nanaimo and the Metro Vancouver area and could affect B.C. Ferries sailings.
“It’s especially interesting when you get successive storms,” he said, “This is a particular series of intense storms that are not going to just affect Nanaimo, but a lot of the South Coast here.”
The first storm is expected to hit Nanaimo as early as Wednesday night and could bring more than 40 millimetres of rain and winds gusting as high as 40 kilometres an hour. The second storm will hit on Friday, with forecasts calling for slightly less rain but increased wind speeds.
However, it’s the third storm that has Castellan concerned. The third storm is expected to hit on Saturday and will be caused by the remnants of Typhoon Songda, which could dump anywhere from 50 to 70 millimetres of rain on Nanaimo.
“If everything lines up and the first two storms are already as bad enough as they are projected to be then we will see Saturday eclipse those because it looks like it will be stronger than both of those storms,” he said.
Castellan said Nanaimo will likely experience higher wind speeds and less rain than other areas such as Metro Vancouver and that the big unknown is how much of a punch Saturday’s storm will pack.
“Because we are dealing with several storms ahead of [Saturday], we are extra vulnerable,” he said. “When you’re extra vulnerable you don’t need as much in order to crest river banks or trees fall.”
Nanaimo is expected to receive more than 100 millimetres of rain over the course of three days, according to Castellan, who said the three storms have the potential to cause significant power outages and flooding, especially in low-lying areas.
“If all three storms deliver to their maximum potential then that’s when things can become historic,” he said.
The rainy and stormy weather will continue throughout next week as Environment Canada is forecasting another storm to bring around 20 millimetres of rain to the Harbour City on Wednesday (Oct. 19).