The B.C. River Forecast Centre has issued a flood watch for the province’s South Coast, and a regional district in the Interior has issued an evacuation alert for several properties, as the first of three successive atmospheric rivers hits the province.
The flood watch applies to most of the Lower Mainland, including some areas still dealing with floods and landslides from the last major storm to hit the province.
A flood warning was already in place for the Sumas River and Sumas Prairie in Abbotsford. The flood watch applies to surrounding areas in the Fraser Valley, the North Shore mountains, Howe Sound, the Sunshine Coast and the Sea-to-Sky region, including areas around Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton.
“Rivers are expected to see rises on Thursday in response to the first rainfall event, with the potential for highest flows (2‐year to 5‐year) expected around the Sunshine Coast, Howe Sound and North Shore corridor,” the forecast centre said in a statement.
The centre said the current storm is expected to be “typical in magnitude” for fall storms in the Fraser Valley, but that could still hamper ongoing flood recovery efforts in the area.
Earlier in the day Thursday, Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun told reporters the city is “as ready as it can be” for the string of three atmospheric rivers approaching B.C.
“The second system arriving over the weekend will likely be more problematic,” the river forecast centre said. “It is currently forecast to have higher rainfall totals, warmer conditions resulting in additional snowmelt and will occur immediately after the current storm system. There is potential for flows to reach 10‐year to 50‐year levels (or higher) – likely occurring Sunday or Monday.”
Meanwhile, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has issued an evacuation alert for several properties along the Similkameen River southeast of Princeton, B.C.
The affected addresses include:
407 Highway 3
561, 563, 556 and 520 Stevenson Creek Rd.
298, 426 and 438 Old Copper Mountain Rd.
586 and 588 East Similkameen Rd.
The full list of affected parcels can be found on the regional district’s website.
Several properties in the Town of Princeton remain on evacuation alert, as well. The town was one of the hardest hit during last week’s storm. One survivor who returned to survey the damage this weekend told The Canadian Press it looked like a tsunami had hit his home.