TORONTO – B.C. prepares for a second storm as the province continues to recover from last week’s heavy rain, which caused flooding and landslides.
As of Monday morning, six BC communities are under snowfall warning environment and climate change canadaIncluding the Fraser Valley, in which thousands of residents were evacuated last week. The Coquihalla Highway, which was already partially destroyed by landslides, is expected to see 25 to 30 cm of snow from Monday afternoon to Tuesday.
Three communities in the province are also under a wind warning. Wind gusts up to 110 km/h are very likely over Central Coast, Haida Gwaii and Coastal North Coast.
Environment and Climate Change Canada is also warning of possible freezing rain, localized flooding and landslides inland along the north coast. The area is subject to rain, wind and winter storm warnings, and could see up to 90 millimeters of precipitation. In the north coast town of Stewart, B.C., near the Alaska border, snow is expected to melt Monday as temperatures rise, which could affect or block drainage systems.
Officials from Environment and Climate Change Canada are due to provide an update on Monday afternoon.
The city of Abbotsford announced on Sunday that a crack on the Sumas River embankment had been sealed and a floodgate had been opened.
The closure of the rift in the dyke and the opening of the floodgates mean that water is no longer flowing from the Sumas River into the former Sumas Lake Bed, which was artificially drained in the 1920s to make way for agricultural land. Instead, Sumas is flowing directly into the Fraser River, as intended, and the pump station is pumping water from East Lake and into the Fraser.
The city remains under a state of emergency until 29 November. Abbotsford officials are also expected to provide an update on the flooding on Monday afternoon.
The federal government announced Sunday that it would be expediting employment insurance applications for people unemployed or displaced by flooding in B.C.
Employment Minister Carla Qualtro said affected residents should apply for employment insurance benefits immediately – even if they would not normally be eligible.
Amid shortages at gas stations and grocery stores, Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said British Columbians living near the border could enter the US to buy essential supplies and need a COVID-19 test for re-entry. Can’t go back without it.
The Fed has also sent 500 members of the Canadian Armed Forces to help with the sandbag efforts. Defense Minister Anita Anand says thousands more are ready to go if needed.