British Columbia will be hit by more rain in the coming days and next week.
The forecast follows a storm that hit the province last week, causing massive destruction and leaving a still incalculable level of damage to homes, farms and roads from landslides, landslides and flooding.
“We have obviously had a very wet fall and we are going to continue with a parade of storms in the short term,” said Armel Castellan, meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada, during a news conference Monday.
The mainland and the province’s Fraser Valley area should see 5 to 10 millimeters of precipitation Monday and 10 to 15 millimeters Monday night, he said.
On Thursday, another atmospheric river is expected to hit the province, a weather event similar to the one in the province witnessed last week. That could bring 40 to 70mm of precipitation to the Fraser Valley and more than 100mm to the North Shore Mountains, Castellan said.
“These are not insignificant totals,” he said. “They are likely to exacerbate vulnerabilities on the ground today.”
On Saturday, another atmospheric river is expected, which is a large stream of water vapor in the sky, Castellan said.
“We are not necessarily seeing the same copious amounts that we saw two weekends ago,” he said. “But we are seeing a very strong signal over the weekend and until next week, we continue to have active storms.”
The government is working on a new classification system for these types of weather events, Castellan said, adding that it could be ready by January.
Officials hope it will help improve communication with residents in the future.
“It’s quite extraordinary to have seen so many (atmospheric rivers),” Castellan said. “At this point, we are, you know, preparing for what will probably end up being a record drop in terms of overall precipitation figures for many communities along the central and southern coast.”
Mike Farnworth, British Columbia’s minister of public safety, said the incoming rain means “at all levels, that we prepare for these events to the best of our ability.”
Meanwhile, stretches of roads around affected areas of the province have been reopened in recent days, Farnworth said.
“Our response to this emergency is still ongoing and will be for quite some time,” he said.
Rob Fleming, the province’s transport minister, said that “getting the corridors at the bottom of the continent open has been, and continues to be, our top priority to ensure that supply chains can be maintained.”
Two routes connecting the lower part of the continent with the interior and the north have been opened to essential travel, he said.
Highway 7 opened Friday and is designated for heavy commercial vehicles. Highway 99 connecting to Highway 97 opened Saturday.
“Both routes are working well,” he said.
Meanwhile, CP Rail is repairing the tracks and is “cautiously optimistic” that it can “restart operations” Tuesday night “unless unforeseen events arise,” Fleming said. This would connect British Columbia with the Alberta border and the rest of the country, he added.
Work is underway to open more roads so that goods and services can keep flowing.
Abbotsford, BC Mayor Henry Braun said Monday that work is ongoing on the Sumas River levee. The water broke it during the weather last week and caused massive flooding in the Sumas Prairie region, a major agricultural area.
Canadian forces are in the area helping with sewer cleaning, looking for weaknesses in the levee and assisting with food delivery, Braun said. Workers are also evaluating bridges and roads for damage.
“There’s still a big lake out there,” Braun said. “We know that the ramifications of last week’s events will be long-lasting.”
The province has imposed restrictions on gasoline that limit people to 30 liters of fuel per visit to the gas station, unless they are essential workers and there are travel restrictions for affected parts of the province.