OHS Canada Magazine

Environment Canada warns of dangers posed by second B.C. storm


British Columbia residents are being told to brace for more rain as an atmospheric river moves south, bringing more precipitation to areas already hit hard by last week’s floods and mudslides.

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for British Columbia’s North Coast, warning of potential flooding and landslides due to heavy rains.

The region is being hit by a system expected to bring 100 to 150 millimetres of rain to the Prince Rupert area and 30 to 60 millimetres to Haida Gwaii by Monday.

The storm is then expected to head south towards parts of the province, such as Abbotsford, that are still grappling with washed-out roads and widespread, flood-related damage following last weekend’s torrential downpours.

“Additional rainfall will definitely lead to more pooling on the roads and that would be followed only by a short break until Wednesday when another system approaches,” Derek Lee, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said in an interview.

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Lee said the rain expected on Monday isn’t too different from a normal winter storm, while Wednesday’s weather system is slated to bring a “significant” amount of rain to parts of southern B.C.

He said Environment Canada is working on a ranking system, similar to one used in the U.S., that would help identify the strength of an atmospheric river weather event.

“It really comes down to how the atmospheric river impacts a certain location,” Lee said. “Atmospheric rivers can bring varying amounts of moisture.”

The federal ministers of emergency preparedness, transportation, environment, defence and employment are set to hold a news conference in Ottawa on Sunday afternoon to discuss the situation in B.C.

Mounties announced on Saturday that the bodies of three men had been recovered near Highway 99, bringing the death toll from the flooding to four.

Hours later, Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said crews are working to repair damaged dikes as quickly as possible ahead of the rain expected later in the week.

The city’s Barrowtown pump station has been able to partially open its floodgates, with hopes of being able to fully open them before the next storm, Braun added.


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