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Atmospheric river breaks rainfall records on North Shore

A Pineapple Express drenched North Vancouver and West Van, with 81 mm of rain recorded Monday and Tuesday

It was wet and warm on the North Shore this week as an atmospheric river brought rainfall that smashed previous records.

About 81 millimetres of rain fell during the storm Monday and into Tuesday, including 70.2 mm on Monday alone, breaking the previous Dec. 4 record of 52.2 mm, recorded at the West Vancouver weather station in 2004.

Other areas of the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley receiving a deluge from the Pineapple Express included Mission, with 100 mm of rain, Pitt Meadows and Squamish at 91 mm each and Port Mellon on the Sunshine Coast, which was soaked with 102 mm.

An “atmospheric river” is a narrow band of moisture originating in the tropics, said Environment Canada meteorologist Derek Lee, that brings warm air carrying large amounts of water vapour to the temperate West Coast.

Warm air brought in by the weather system persisted into Tuesday, setting high temperature records for overnight lows, said Lee.

On the North Shore, lows only fell to 8.6 degrees overnight between Monday and Tuesday, breaking a previous record of 7 degrees.

Overall, this winter El Nino is expected to bring warmer than usual temperatures to the West Coast, said Lee.

That doesn’t mean every day will be warm, however.

Starting late this weekend and into next week, North Shore residents can expect overnight lows to dip below freezing again, with daytime highs hovering around 4 degrees, said Lee.

That’s good news for North Shore ski hills, as precipitation received on the weekend is expected to fall as snow at higher elevations.