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“Most intense storm yet”: Canadian Forces members help British Columbia weather third storm

Canadian Forces members propped up vulnerable areas of Cowichan tribe lands with sandbags on Tuesday, to protect First Nations community homes from the Cowichan River flood, as the latest heavy rain storm hit Province.

Canadian Forces members propped up vulnerable areas of Cowichan Tribe lands with sandbags on Tuesday, to protect First Nations community homes from the Cowichan River flood, as the latest heavy rain storm hit Province.

About 100 First Nation homes were affected by flooding during the November 14-15 rainstorm.

Tribal members were offered free self-bagging services, and notices were posted to prepare “take-out kits” including important medicines and papers, as well as to unplug all basement appliances. and crawl spaces in the event of additional flooding.

The latest rainstorm, the third of three atmospheric rivers, could be the worst yet for parts of British Columbia, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said in an update on efforts to the province to manage flood and storm damage.

In the hardest-hit areas, the storm could be at least as severe as that in mid-November which caused extensive flooding and road damage, he said.

“In some areas, like the central coast, this could be the most intense storm yet. “

Environment Canada has warned of extreme precipitation that could worsen existing flooding or cause new flooding to already saturated soil.

Armel Castellan, a meteorologist at Environment Canada, said the central and west coast of Vancouver Island could see up to 150 millimeters of rain, with up to 120 mm in the Bella Coola area, while the Fraser Valley flooded east of Abbotsford can reach 80mm.

David Campbell, chief of the BC River Forecast Center, said flood watches are in effect for Vancouver Island, the Central Coast, the South Coast, the Fraser Valley, the Fraser Canyon and some inland watersheds. .

Campbell said they are also monitoring water levels in the Nooksack River in Washington state, which contributed to flooding in a prime agricultural area in Abbotsford last month. The river’s water level had dropped over the weekend, but coming rain could push it up, he said.

Five hundred members of the Canadian Armed Forces have been deployed to areas of concern, including Vancouver Island.

19 Wing Comox is also ready to help, as is CFB Esquimalt, said Farnworth, who urged British Columbians to avoid non-essential travel and “wait for bad weather.”

“Also, and I cannot stress this enough, please follow the instructions of your local government,” he said.

If an evacuation alert or order has been issued for your area, take it seriously, he said. Those unable to evacuate should call 911 and report their location.

Emergency Management BC and “an army of local government workers and community volunteers” are making sure that shelter, food, medicine and other resources are available to those in need, Farnworth said.

Sandbags, emergency kits, feed, fuel and other supplies are also provided.

“We coordinate additional supports and services from the federal government, as well as non-government organizations and industry,” he said.

Portions of roads and highways – including Highway 1 between Chilliwack and Abbotsford as well as a section east of Chilliwack between Hope and the community of Popkum, and Highway 99 between Pemberton and Lillooet – have been closed to across the province as a precaution, where passage has been restricted to commercial vehicles only.

British Columbia Transportation Minister Rob Fleming has called on all drivers not to travel on roads and highways unless their travel is “absolutely necessary”, warning that commercial truck drivers may use the vehicle. alternative routes unknown due to road damage caused by the November 14-15 storm.

“Please be patient and accept that it will take longer and drive under the current conditions,” he said.

Fleming said many of the restrictions are short-term. “We will get there,” he said.

“We are monitoring conditions across the province, including the mid and south coasts, interior and northern part of Vancouver Island.

“Crews and equipment are ready to be deployed to all of these areas as needed. “

The rain is expected to mostly ease Thursday and Friday, Castellan said, although a smaller system is expected to affect the south coast late Friday.

“We don’t expect large, large quantities, but we will be watching the continued barrage of storms affecting the BC coast very closely over the next week or so.”

Avalanche Canada warned Tuesday of an “increasingly dangerous avalanche cycle” in many mountain ranges in British Columbia.

He rated the risk as high to extreme on the south and northwest coasts and eastern British Columbia from Chetwynd south to Castlegar.

People should stay away from avalanche terrain as avalanches “are expected to travel all the way to the valley floor with the arrival of this third atmospheric river,” he said.

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– With files from The Canadian Press


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Rodney N.

The author Rodney N.