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B.C. bracing for heavy rain combined with snowmelt

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 4:00 PST, Mon January 10, 2022

Last Updated: 4:52 PST, Mon January 10, 2022

The province is urging British Columbians to prepare as Environment and Climate Change Canada advises that substantial rain, with snow at higher elevations, is expected for coastal B.C. throughout this week.

Heavy rain is expected for coastal areas including east and west Vancouver Island, Fraser Valley, Howe Sound, inland Vancouver Island, Metro Vancouver (including Richmond) and the Sunshine Coast. A wind warning is in effect for the central coast—coastal sections, Haida Gwaii, North Coast—coastal sections, and North Vancouver Island.

The River Forecast Centre has issued a high streamflow advisory for: Howe Sound; Sunshine Coast; Sea-to-Sky; North Shore Mountains; Metro Vancouver (including Richmond); Fraser Valley, including the Chilliwack River and surrounding tributaries; and Vancouver Island (North, East, South, West, and Central).

The rainfall expected this week, combined with the melting of recent snow, is a concern. Rivers are expected to rise, resulting in possible flooding. Previously flooded areas may be more vulnerable.

Emergency Management BC urges people to get prepared now in case of flooding. Here are some tips to help you and your family prepare:

Protect your home:

• Protect your home from potential floods by clearing out gutters, maintaining perimeter drains, making sure downspouts are far enough away from your residence and checking that nearby stormwater drains on your street are free of leaves and blockage.

• Sandbags also help and can be available by local government.

• Store valuables and important items or documents in water-tight containers or in higher places, such as on a tall shelf or upper floor.

• Prepare for a possible power outage or other disruption to infrastructure by creating a household emergency kit with enough non-perishable food, water and supplies to support your household for a week. Make sure it is stored in an accessible location that everyone knows about.

• If your lights go out, check to see whether BC Hydro is already aware of the outage by visiting bchydro.com
• If your outage is not listed, call 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376), or *49376 (*HYDRO) on your mobile phone.

• You can also log in to your BC Hydro account to report an outage online.

• Develop an emergency plan. Knowing what to do will reduce anxiety and help keep you focused and safe.

• Know your neighbours who may require extra care and check on them.

Create grab-and-go bags:

• Create a grab-and-go bag for each member of your household with the essentials they will need if you are asked to evacuate.

Be safe when on the road:

• People should bring warm clothing that does not restrict movement when driving and ensure their vehicles are equipped with a full tank of fuel, food and water, a first-aid kit and other emergency supplies. If stuck or stranded, people should stay in their vehicles and call 911 for roadside assistance.

• Drive carefully and never attempt to drive through floodwater. The depth of water is not always obvious. The roadbed may be washed out under the water and sink holes could exist but be unseen.

• About 15 centimetres (six inches) inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars. causing loss of control and possible stalling. Approximately 30 centimetres (a foot) of water will float many vehicles.

• Drivers are reminded that B.C.'s winter tire regulations are in effect. Slow down and watch for icy roads.

Recognize the danger signs:

• Torrential rains can cause overland flooding and creeks and rivers to quickly overflow. Avoid these water channels because they tend to fill up quickly. Riverbanks that look stable can be eroded beneath the surface, causing unstable ground that could collapse.

• Keep children and pets away from stream banks and watch for changing conditions, particularly if you live in low-lying areas or near waterways.

For the latest public weather alerts, visit Environment and Climate Change Canada's website. 

For the latest on road conditions, check Drivebc.ca

For guidance on preparing for potential flooding, click here.

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