Rain pours down on a multi-coloured umbrella.

Photo Credit: VanIsle.News Staff

It’s Finally Raining—Now What Happens?

Bring out those gumboots, and don't eat any oysters!

Hopefully this weekend’s atmospheric river can end the drought

We’ve been in a critical drought for months now, and today we’re finally getting showers. Hurrah!

Courtenay needed it. Things were starting to stink from all the dead fish in the lagoon.

The Courtenay Airpark Lagoon has been full of dead salmon. Beyond fish, the drought was killing all sorts of trees and plant life.

We’re now scheduled for a few full days of heavy rain, or technically, an atmospheric river.

While these have become known for causing extreme flooding in the past few years, it’s still a welcome blessing for the Valley.

With the Level 5 drought that we’ve been experiencing, the rain will be a lot more on-brand. But it will cause a few things to watch out for.

When the soil is really dried out, it has trouble absorbing water the way it normally does. So expect to see a lot of runoff in the next few days.

Hopefully, a good amount of this will end up in our seriously dried-out Puntledge River, but what doesn’t will end up in the ocean.

This may worsen the already overwhelming fisheries advisory that has been put in place. We’ve been warned off harvesting any shellfish on the Island due to polluted runoff from the rains. All this mixed-up dirty surface water has been washed into the ocean and, consequently, into our seafood.

Be careful where and what you pick in the coming weeks, and keep an eye out for advisories—at the moment, they’re everywhere.

Rains could cause flash flooding in the Valley as well. All this water will need some time to sink in, so be ready to pull those gumboots out of the back of your closet.

The drought this year was extreme. Comox recorded just 22 mm of rain in October, far below its average of 123 mm. Depending on how much rain falls, our drought level may come down.

But it’s more likely to be a few more weeks before we start to return to normal water levels.

Environment Canada models show 40 to 50 millimetres of rain is forecast through to Saturday in the Comox Valley.

Rain is predicted to be even heavier on the west coast of Vancouver Island, where about 80 mm could fall in less than 36 hours.

We’ll see what the future brings. But for at least a few days, we’ll be back to living like turtles.