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Is an 'atmospheric river' headed for Metro Vancouver? Environment Canada weighs in

Will one of these powerful systems pound the region with heavy rainfall?
atmospheric-river-over-highway
Environment Canada provides a comment on the summer season in the Metro Vancouver weather forecast on June 8, 2022. It notes a rainstorm is coming.

Locals often complain about wet, dreary 'Juneuary' weather — and many of them were alarmed to see headlines that called for an 'atmospheric river' to make its way into the Metro Vancouver region.

But is one of the concentrated moisture patterns actually headed our way?

Environment Canada calls for a slightly cooler than average start to the summer this June, albeit not markedly below seasonal averages; it also calls for a rainstorm in the coming days. 

The national weather department isn't forecasting an 'atmospheric river,' however. And meteorologist Doug Lundquist advises that the term is thrown around a bit too often of late. 

"We can get ponding water at almost any time of year...or a plugged drain, culverts...that type of thing," he tells Vancouver Is Awesome in a phone interview. "It's more like a storm that you'd expect in November or October.

"But June is a wet month for us." 

Metro Vancouver weather forecast: It isn't an 'atmospheric river'

Environment Canada hasn't issued a rainfall warning for the region for this week and it may not have to, Lundquist notes.

"When we talk about [atmospheric rivers] it puts it in that category of like what happened in November," he adds, referencing the devastating flooding in the Lower Mainland last fall caused by several days of extreme rainfall. 

Instead, the meteorologist stresses that this rainstorm is a "normal event." This week's temperatures may track a couple of degrees below season averages — daily highs of 17°C to 20°C instead of hovering around 20°C — but there aren't any significant weather events expected in the coming days. 

So how would Lundquist characterize the upcoming wet weather pattern in the Lower Mainland?

"It's upper low season for British Columbia and this is just a more enhanced rain event in that pattern of upper lows," he underscores. "This one just has a little more punch to it."

And while many locals are wondering where their sunny start to summer is, Lundquist stresses that wet June weather may prevent overly dry conditions in July and August. 

When can Metro Vancouverites expect to see the drier, warmer weather kick in?

The toasty daily highs and sunny streaks should commence between July 1 and July 10, adds the meteorologist.