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Extreme Victoria weather events & general weather chat


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#21 Walter Moar

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Posted 24 November 2006 - 04:19 PM

Victoria water supply remains stable, safe
Carolyn Heiman, Times Colonist
Published: Friday, November 24, 2006

Could Victorians face having to boil their water for safety following rainstorms?

It's a question being asked in the aftermath of torrential rain that is forcing millions of Greater Vancouver residents and some residents up-Island to continue days of boiling water to drink.

The short answer is: Likely not.

Stewart Irwin, manager of water quality for the Greater Victoria Water District, said the region's reservoir is blessed by its geography when it comes to its ability to guarantee quality drinking water.

He goes on to rank the reservoir as one of the most stable in the Pacific Northwest.

Six reasons factor into the ranking, said Irwin.

- The reservoir is large relative to the population it serves. That leads to water staying in the system for more than a year on average before it comes out of a homeowner's tap. This gives particles -- which are at the root of Vancouver's water woes -- a long time to settle.

- The positions of the reservoir's three basins are ideally suited to creating clear drinking water, with the largest one -- with the three main tributaries -- situated the furthest away from where water is taken up into the distribution system.

- Prior to raising the water level of the reservoir over the last three years, which resulted in new areas being flooded, the shoreline in the south basin was "armoured" with rock. This diminished erosion from wave action. The south basin is nearest to the intake tower.

- The Victoria reservoir is in a flatter watershed than the Vancouver reservoirs. "When you have steeper slopes, rain runs off faster and will carry more sediment," said Irwin, adding that Vancouver's steep slopes have also resulted in landslides.

- The Victoria reservoir does not cut through areas that long ago were part of the ocean floor as Vancouver reservoirs do. The sediment layer from an ocean floor is clay and made up of very tiny particles. Those particles tend to float and don't settle quickly. The Victoria watershed has a low percentage of clay. In fact, the course grainy sand in large parts of it, act as a further filter for water.

- Finally, said Irwin, 98 per cent of the Victoria reservoir is not accessible, diminishing the risk of contamination from outside sources. Those that may be present are killed by the ultraviolet treatment system.

"It is amazing to think that the people who chose this location in the early 1900s had the foresight to pick this location as an ideal long-term place for Victoria to draw its water," said water commission chairman Nil Jensen.

The series of storms that raced through the region last week, causing havoc in Port Alberni, Chemainus, and Vancouver, only mildly raised the turbidity of the water in the Sooke Reservoir, said Irwin, who adds that the brunt of that storm did miss Victoria.

But Irwin said the region has had 100-year storms -- a term used to describe the worst possible scenario -- and they haven't affected water quality in any noticeable way. The previous week when 150 millimetres of rain fell in 24 hours, it hardly affected the water.

Still the district is watching the events of Vancouver for lessons to be learned.

Richard Stanwick, chief medical health officer of health for the capital Region, said some confusion appeared to arise over the working of the boil water advisory in Vancouver which suggested the residents "might" want to boil water. As well, there is ambiguity into who should be issuing the advisories, the medical officer of health or the water purveyor.

But Stanwick said at the end of the day the situation calls for action, not "niceties" and medical officials would always feel the need to act.

Stanwick said the water troubles in Vancouver and Island towns are a reminder to residents to prepare themselves for an earthquake.

"If we had a massive shake that took out the number one (water) line to Victoria, how would we cope? ... I was surprised by the scenes in Vancouver of pushing and shoving. This speaks to not getting into a disaster mindset."

Residents should be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. "If we had a three days supply of water there would be a lot less of this panicked buying."

Is there anything to learn from how some large city residents behaved compared to the pull-together attitude demonstrated in places like Port Alberni, arguably harder hit by the rainfall?

"As with towns that have weathered pretty significant challenges, there tends to be this resilience," said Stanwick. "They tend to take it in stride."

It's the subject of federal government studies on community connectiveness.

The studies show, said Stanwick, "that in communities where there is a high sense of connectedness, these communities handle challenges better. It has nothing to do with social support."

#22 Jada

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Posted 24 November 2006 - 04:33 PM

Thats a really interesting article! I havent seen the reservoir myself, but judging that its on the top of the malahat, I knew it couldnt have too much sediment run-off.

I am going to post this link to the aerial resevoir photo that tnano has on his flickr account...
http://www.flickr.co...nano/305027953/

I must say though that here in Vancouver I am certainly enjoying cooking my Mr Noodles in Perrier water.

#23 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 24 November 2006 - 05:30 PM

Thats a really interesting article! I havent seen the reservoir myself, but judging that its on the top of the malahat, I knew it couldnt have too much sediment run-off.

I am going to post this link to the aerial resevoir photo that tnano has on his flickr account...
http://www.flickr.co...nano/305027953/

I must say though that here in Vancouver I am certainly enjoying cooking my Mr Noodles in Perrier water.


I do that even when there is no advisory. Plus I put in gold flakes like in GoldschlagerTM.
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#24 ressen

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Posted 24 November 2006 - 07:21 PM

we had some large snowflakes this afternoon here in Metchosin .

#25 Number Six

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 12:02 PM

Greater Victoria
10:28 AM PST Saturday 25 November 2006
Snowfall warning for
Greater Victoria issued

20 to 30 cm of snow expected by Sunday evening.



A strengthening Arctic ridge over the northern interior is pushing cold Arctic air up against the east slopes of the north and central coast mountains. Strong outflow winds have developed through the valleys and inlets as the Arctic air rushes through the gaps towards the coast. As the high continues to strengthen winds will increase and temperatures will continue to fall resulting in windchills in the minus 20 to minus 30 range by this afternoon over the north coast and minus 20 by this evening over the central coast. These conditions are expected to persist for several days.

The Arctic air is making its way through the valleys of the south coast and will arrive in the Lower Mainland by Sunday morning. An intensifying low over the pacific will approach Washington state Sunday morning. The moisture associated with the low will interact with the Arctic air giving significant snowfall for much of the south coast beginning tonight. 20 to 30 cm of snow is expected by Sunday evening.

#26 Holden West

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 12:06 PM

I like when American weather forecasters say, "A cold front coming down from Canada...". Hey, man, don't blame us.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#27 NMP

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 12:46 PM

Where is the friggin global warming when you need it...

#28 Savannah

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 03:23 PM

we had some large snowflakes this afternoon here in Metchosin .


We had flakes in Langford (Mill Hill) about half an hour ago. Then it faded into cold, light rain. Have to confess, like a kid, I'm hoping for snow. I like snow.

#29 gumgum

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 05:09 PM

Little bit of snow here in Fairfield.

#30 Savannah

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 05:44 PM

It's Officially Snowing in Langford!

Hope there's lots more tomorrow--my little dog has never seen/been in snow! Lots of snow for us to play in, please! And all melted by Monday... :)

#31 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 06:06 PM

It's Officially Snowing in Langford!


Officially? Has City Hall made a declaration?
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#32 Jada

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 06:36 PM

I just looked outside and my entire lawn is covered in snow!

But then I do live on the base of Grouse Mountain. Im not sure if its the same as the rest of the city.

#33 renthefinn

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 09:33 PM

There's snow outside my place a few blocks from downtown, I think it started around 2:00pm.

#34 gumgum

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 10:33 PM

You're in Van, right Ren?

#35 djp

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 06:35 AM

I've got quite a bit since last night here on the west side (Vancouver). Looks like the Environment Canada forecast is sparing you guys in Victoria...10 cm expected over "higher terrain" in Victoria...you may not get your snow, I'm afraid.

#36 Number Six

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 09:45 AM

The snow is falling in the Cook St. Village as of 9:45am (as I suspect it is everywhere in Greater Victoria right now)

#37 G-Man

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 09:51 AM

Yup so when was the last time Downtown Victoria had snow in NOVEMBER!!??

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#38 NMP

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 10:04 AM

^ I'd guess just before the global warming started :lol:

#39 Number Six

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 10:08 AM

I actually remember the last time we had snow in November ... it was 1985!

#40 Jada

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 10:10 AM

I am about to put my snowgear on and join the kids across the street who are sledding and building snow forts. Man, I love snow days!

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