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Soggy January one for record books

Call it ‘Rainuary.’

January was one of the wettest months ever.

It was bookended by what Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan is calling a “very juicy” atmospheric river.

“(It was) one that was quite a bit stronger than the four that led to it, so we had five in total (last) month,” Castellan said. 

The Comox valley had 374 millimetres of precipitation, far surpassing the normal of 172 mm. That’s 218 per cent above average.

It also ranks as the second wettest January on record for the valley, dating back to 1915. 

Castellan said the soggiest January is “unattainable” because 430 millimetres fell on the valley back in 1935.

Campbell River was soaked with 337 mm, which is over 150 percent above the normal amount of 217 mm for the month. The only day that didn’t record at least a trace of precipitation was Jan. 8.

Castellan said it wasn’t just about the total at the end of the month, but the cumulative days of rain above 25 mm.

“Normally January will only see 2.5 (days above 25 mm). In Campbell River, for instance, (there were) at least four days that saw 25 mm or more so you’re well above the normal for those big soaker events.”

The pattern was much the same on the northern tip of the island.

Port Hardy saw 328 mm of precipitation. It usually sees 247 mm.

Over on the Sunshine Coast, Powell River usually has 159 mm in January. Last month, it had at least 275 mm which Castellan said is “quite a good strong hit for the Sunshine Coast.”  

Castellan said the region is particularly vulnerable with flooding and landslides as a result of such torrential rains.

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