Evacuations and Flood Warnings Continue in British Columbia

Several rivers in British Columbia received flood warnings on Wednesday as hundreds of homes remained evacuated due to heavy rains.

There were 12 evacuation orders involving 350 homes in the Fraser Valley Regional District in its coverage area from Boston Bar to Abbotsford.

Another 1,664 houses were on alert, most of them in the Hatzic Valley, where numerous rivers and streams were about to overflow.

The Coquihalla River was one of the main waterways where the River Forecast Center updated flood alerts to warnings, meaning that river levels have exceeded or will imminently exceed its banks, causing flooding in adjacent areas.

Flood advisories were also issued for the Chilliwack River, the Lower Fraser tributaries, and the Tulameen, Similkameen, Coldwater, and Lower Nicola rivers, as well as Spius Creek.

The flood warnings come as southern and coastal British Columbia entered the end of severe weather that meteorologists have described as a “parade” of storms with dozens of weather warnings across the region.

Armel Castellan, Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Advisory Prep Meteorologist, said fall floods in the immediate aftermath of extreme summer heat are in line with expected trends.

“Unfortunately, this is consistent with what climate change has been projecting for all parts of Canada, including the mid-latitudes here in BC,” he told a news conference on Wednesday.

“It is not to say that it is always going to be so extreme all the time, we will see breaks, of course. But the frequency, amplitude of these events and their longevity individually will continue to increase in the coming years and decades.”

Weather stations at Nanaimo, Victoria, Abbotsford and Vancouver Airport broke seasonal precipitation records for September, October and November combined, he said.

Flood warnings, evacuations remain in effect in British Columbia. #BCFlood

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said that while there was a lull in the weather on Wednesday, residents of southwestern British Columbia should prepare for more rain ahead of an expected respite on Thursday.

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun suggested conditions had stabilized in one of the worst affected areas of the province, although officials would be vigilant and localized evacuation orders remained in effect.

“If the weather continues to cooperate over the next few days, we hope we can begin to lift these and potentially other evacuation orders in areas as they become clear,” he said.

Environment Canada says rain should subside on Thursday and Friday, but a smaller storm system is expected to hit the southern coast of British Columbia late on Friday.

This Canadian Press report was first published on December 2, 2021.


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