Oscar Wilde said, “conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” But really, Oscar, what else is there to talk about in Rupert these days?
Other than a few stretches of sunny weather for three days at a time, it seems that it’s rained in Rupert incessantly since the beginning of July. Against all odds, there’s been more of it over the last few days. While we haven’t had a highway closure or a landslide like Stewart or Kincolith, we have seen a tremendous amount of rain.
How much? According to David Jones, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, 200 millimetres has fallen since Monday, September 5. He added there’s probably another 50 millimetres on its way before it ends.
Jones said the cause of the downpour has been the “usual culprit”: a front draped over the North Coast that won’t budge.
That front isn’t moving, said Jones, because a deep low-pressure system over Alaska has come up against a ridge over North America. That ridge is the same one causing near-record high temperatures in the Lower Mainland, he said.
“Sometimes, these systems lock in and don’t budge,” said Jones.
The wind is coming from the southwest, tapping into tropical weather patterns; Jones said the train of moisture actually stretches all the way to Hawaii. “I don’t know whether we’d call it a Pineapple Express, but it’s pretty close,” he said, referring to the meteorological phenomenon that sometimes flows from Hawaii, bringing moisture and rain to the west coast of North America.
The wind is also bringing the system perpendicular to the Coast Mountains, which Jones said is the perfect way to “ring it out.”
As for the landslides that heavy rainfall can sometimes bring, there hasn’t been any along Highway 16 – yet.
Jeff Knight, a communications agent with the provincial ministry of transportation, said while landslides can’t be predicted, road workers are nonetheless staying vigilant.
“During heavy rains, our highway maintenance contractors are patrolling highways and bridges and monitoring drainage channels to ensure they are kept free of debris,” wrote Knight in an email to Muskeg News.
Environment Canada, meanwhile, is forecasting another few days of rain until Saturday. By then, we may actually be able to enjoy the sun and stop boring each other with our unimaginative comments about the weather.
~Written by Chris Armstrong