UK weather: extreme weather warning for British Columbia coast

Environment Canada has issued an extreme weather warning for coastal British Columbia as the province continues to battle heavy rain, strong winds and flooding in parts of the region. Heavy rains, combined with floodwaters…

UK weather: extreme weather warning for British Columbia coast

Environment Canada has issued an extreme weather warning for coastal British Columbia as the province continues to battle heavy rain, strong winds and flooding in parts of the region.

Heavy rains, combined with floodwaters and heavy winds, are hindering cleanup efforts and wind speeds in coastal areas are forecasted to be between 30 and 50 kilometres an hour (18-25 mph).

Snow may even be approaching the mountains overnight. The weather has some British Columbians worried – the region is still recovering from flooding that occurred after spring storms in late March. That storm flooded the province’s North Shore with more than 30cm (12.8 inches) of rain.

In communities such as Vancouver, hundreds of homes remain under water and two people were killed as a result of the flooding.

Another 36,000 residents in the region remain without power after severe storms caused some widespread destruction. The storm also caused the Quesnel mine to shut down due to heavy rain and flooding.

The Yellowhead highway was also temporarily closed while crews worked to rescue two people who became stranded in high water.

“Environment Canada forecasters have issued several wind and rain warnings and advisories for British Columbia over the past week,” the statement from the department said. “Rainfall amounts are already exceeding the spring average across much of the province, resulting in localized flooding and stream and river overtopping.”

Additional flooding is expected over the weekend and temperatures are expected to drop, making it even more difficult for some to clean up.

Thunderstorms are likely to occur on Sunday evening and Monday. Radar maps show the southern tip of Vancouver Island is showing the most chance of seeing rainfall of up to 100mm (4.7 inches).

Water continues to rise on parts of the North Shore after spring storms in March. Photograph: Bill Keay/AP

Photographs show backyards still filled with flooded paths and streets following March’s storms. Significant damage has been reported in some parts.

“Currently, several rivers in B.C. are over to record flood levels, with at least two rivers (Dixie River and Halchus River) under record flood levels. The environment committee is closely monitoring the extensive flood damage in the region,” the statement from Environment Canada said.

People are also warned to avoid rivers if possible due to storm conditions and potential dangers, including falling debris and power outages.

Graphic by Jennifer Bergen for the Guardian

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