BARRY — A third atmospheric river forecast to bring heavy rain and more potential flooding to parts of British Columbia could be “the most intense storm yet” for some areas, the province’s public safety minister says.
Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Mike Farnsworth said “heavy rainfall” is forecast over the next 48 hours in the coastal and southwest regions of the province.
“Late today, we are expecting a significant storm forecast by Wednesday afternoon,” he told reporters. “In some areas like the central coast, this could be the most intense storm ever.”
He said the province has already raised assets in the Bela Coola Valley in preparation.
Environment and Climate Change Canada is warning of extreme rainfall that could worsen existing floods in the region, or create new floods, Farnsworth said in Southwest BC.
“This storm may not have the same intensity as we saw mid-month in some of our hardest-hit areas, such as the Fraser Valley,” he said. “But the cumulative effect of this succession of storms will and will continue to be a major challenge.”
Farnsworth urged residents to avoid all non-essential travel in the area, and said the public should “pay close attention” to Environment Canada, and forecasts of road closures.
He urged the public to follow instructions from their local governments or First Nations “especially if an evacuation alert has been issued.”
“Evacuation orders are given to save lives and should be taken very seriously,” he said. “Follow all instructions.”
Farnsworth just said, residents should “get ready.”
“Being prepared makes a huge difference for you, your family, your community, and our emergency responders,” he said.
While there is some “uncertainty” as forecasting models vary, Farnworth said crews are working “around the clock” to shore up dams and dams to protect critical infrastructure, residential areas and farms. .
There are now more than 500 Canadian Armed Forces members in the Southwest, Central Coast and Vancouver Island, he said.
“We are not clear yet,” Farnsworth said, “and this recovery will take time, but we will get there by working together and supporting each other.”
In anticipation of heavy rain, Transportation Minister Rob Fleming announced that Highway 99 Will close as of 4 p.m. PST between Pemberton and Lilleut. This means that Highways 3 and 7 are open overnight.
A provincial state of emergency was extended until 14 December.
Announcing the extension on Monday, Farnsworth said gasoline rationing would also remain in place until December 14.
Drivers of non-essential vehicles are only allowed to refill 30 liters of gasoline per stop at stations in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast and Gulf Islands.
Farnsworth said extending the state of emergency to the entire province would help the government’s “response and recovery from the already widespread damage from the floods, while positioning us to take the necessary steps in the coming day.”
Environment Canada issues rain warning
Environment Canada has issued multiple rain warnings for the Metro Vancouver, North Shore Howe Sound and Sunshine Coast areas, with heavy rain warnings beginning Tuesday through Wednesday.
On Monday, B.C.’s Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development released a flood watch Central Coast, Vancouver Island for the North, Southeast, West and Central regions.
“Environment and Climate Change Canada is issuing 100–200 mm of rain warnings for exposed areas on Vancouver Island and the Central Coast; 80–120 mm for inland areas of the Central Coast, including the Bella Coola Valley, and 50 for the South Coast. -100 mm,” Consultant reads.
The department said temperatures “are expected to warm through this event, and there will be additional flow of snow at low and mid elevations.”
This latest atmospheric river Extreme avalanche warning has also been issued In the Sea to Sky area of BC. Avalanche Canada said that rain increases the level of freezing in the mountains and thus can cause avalanches.
“Extreme” is the most severe warning that Avalanche Canada can issue.
A local emergency was declared in Hope district on Sunday.
Mayor Peter Robb told Granthshala news channel on Tuesday that 12 homes had now been evacuated.
He said, ‘Everything is being monitored. “We took a little break from the rain last night for about five hours which helped.”
Robb said the Coquihalla River, which was the “main concern”, has receded and the flow rate slowed slightly.
He said he expects Hope to receive only 120 to 130 mm of rain, which is currently forecast for the region.
“More than that and I’m getting worried,” he said. “But if the prediction is correct I think we will be fine.”
Robb said the crew is sanding and clearing debris from trenches in high-risk areas.
“We are ready to be as good as we can be,” he said. “It’s just waiting and now there’s hope.”
Meanwhile in Abbotsford, the local emergency has been extended.
In an update on Tuesday, Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said water levels had begun to rise in some areas, prompting some targeted evacuation orders.
“Despite the local flooding we are facing today, I am pleased to report that I have some overall positive forecasts regarding major flooding conditions,” Braun said. “Regional water modeling projections for today and the next few days indicate the stabilization of overall water levels in our region despite the rain that we are getting and will continue to achieve tomorrow.”
Braun has previously said he is feeling more optimistic about the situation as water from the Nooksack River is taking longer than anticipated in Abbotsford. He said it took 19 hours for most of the water to reach Abbotsford.
Crew builds a sandbag berm in Washington state to prevent water from the Nooksack River from spilling over to BC
He said he expected Abbotsford to make it through to a third season event with “only minimal impact”.
“I’m happy to share at this point that we are holding our own,” he said.
Braun said water levels in the flooded areas of Sumas Prairie were stable, adding that he was confident the dikes would catch on.
As of Tuesday morning, several evacuation orders are in place in Abbotsford, including some properties along Whatcom Road and Sandringham Drive in the Huntingdon Village, Sumas Prairie and Stratton areas.
Crews in Abbotsford also worked over the weekend and on Monday to prepare for another influx of water.
A Tiger Dam – a large orange tube filled with water – has been built along Highway 1.
According to the transport ministry, the local police, fire department, employees of an indigenous construction company and members of the CAF worked overnight on Sunday to build the dam.
Sand piles have also been put on the banks of the dam.
Highway 1 remains closed Concerns about flooding continue in two areas.
Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, BC Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said a section of Highway 99 would be closed again at 4 p.m. local time.
If necessary, more roadways can be closed, he added.
“Remember this is for the short term, we will get through this,” he said.
Fleming urged the public to avoid travel unless absolutely necessary.
In Merritt BC, city crews, contractors and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel are working to build riverfront defenses.
In an update on Monday, city officials said the Coldwater River had “seen a peak flow of 177m3/s and the flooding was stopped.”
“As more rain is forecast in the catchment basin for cold water, we continue to reinforce the banks,” read a Facebook post.
Merritt Mayor Linda Brown said the city is “monitoring” the situation in several ways, with another storm on the way.
“Including hourly forecasts from Environment and Climate Change Canada, modeling from the BC River Prediction Center and visual updates from our staff in the field,” she said in an update Monday.
“We will continue to review this data and fully expect to be able to maintain access to phase three during the day.” [on Tuesday],” He continued.
Trans Mountain Pipeline
in one update on monday, Trans Mountain Pipeline said work to restore the pipeline was interrupted on Sunday due to “high water or lack of access”.
The company said it is still “a few days away from restarting the pipeline at reduced capacity.”
“Once resumed, deliveries of oil and refined products currently in line will continue as they move to their delivery points in Kamloops, Sumas or Burnaby,” the statement said.
Following the initial start-up, Trans Mountain said, “There will be ongoing efforts to get the system back to its full potential as quickly as possible.”
Currently, gasoline is being brought into the province by truck and barge in an effort to prevent shortages.
With files from Granthshala’s Regan Hasegawa, Megan Gill and Andrew Weichel