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Canada Evacuation alerts, highway closures as more rain hammers southern B.C.

03:25  28 november  2021
03:25  28 november  2021 Source:   msn.com

Crews in B.C. to begin mammoth cleanup as flood waters recede

  Crews in B.C. to begin mammoth cleanup as flood waters recede British Columbia has begun the mammoth task of assessing damage to its transportation networks, infrastructure and thousands of properties along the southern part of the province in the wake of devastating floods. The province also expects the death toll to rise. Thousands of people remain out of their homes and thousands of farm animals and livestock were also imperilled as waters washed away homes and left farms under metres of water as the province declared a state of emergency on Wednesday. The flooding was caused by record rainfall last weekend. The state of emergency will last two weeks and could be extended.

VICTORIA — Southern British Columbians braced for another severe storm Saturday, with a new set of evacuation alerts issued and officials in an already devastated agricultural community warning of another possible river overflow.

  Evacuation alerts, highway closures as more rain hammers southern B.C. © Provided by The Canadian Press

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun told a news conference Saturday that the city has done everything it can with provincial and federal support to prepare, but the Nooksack River in Washington state presented an "unknown factor."

The river's dikes in Whatcom County were damaged in recent flooding and it's unknown exactly how much of Sunday's anticipated spillover the saturated land could absorb, Braun said.

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  'This is all hands on deck.' Feds deploy soldiers to B.C. disaster areas Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday that both of their governments are “strongly aligned” on the environment, fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and on recovering the economy.

"The rain we can handle, I'm pretty confident of that. What we can't handle is if the Nooksack overflows and starts emptying again into Sumas Prairie," he said.

The mayor said he impressed the importance of supporting critical diking and drainage infrastructure when he met Friday with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan.

"If we are not supported and the Barrowtown pump station fails, we expect there will be eight feet or more of water over Trans Canada Highway 1 for months, which could result in a critical transportation route for residents, goods and services for the Lower Mainland being out of commission for up to a year," Braun said.

Weather warnings blanketed much of the province's south Saturday, with rainfall expected to intensify Saturday night, easy Sunday afternoon and return again early next week.

Another series of storms set to roll through regions of B.C. devastated by floods and mudslides

  Another series of storms set to roll through regions of B.C. devastated by floods and mudslides Communities left reeling by significant floods and mudslides in southern B.C. are set to face another series of storms heading into the weekend, even as widespread damage continues to affect key highways and supply chains, and thousands remain away from their homes.Environment Canada issued a series of rainfall warnings for regions throughout southwest B.C. overnight on Thursday. Up to 80 millimetres of rain is set to fall near the mountains, and 50 millimetres near the coast.

By Saturday afternoon, local governments had issued evacuation alerts for low-lying areas in the Nicola Valley near Merritt and Spences Bridge, as well as the Pemberton Meadows area.

The Transportation Ministry proactively closed several highways between the Lower Mainland and Interior that were previously affected by major flooding. The highway segments had only been open to essential traffic as the province worked to restore damaged infrastructure and manage a gas shortage caused by the disaster.

The closed highways include Highway 3 between Hope and Princeton, Highway 1 between Hope and Popkum, Highway 1 in the Fraser Canyon and Highway 99 between Pemberton and Lillooet.

"The highway infrastructure in these areas is extremely vulnerable following recent storm events. More heavy rain in the forecast poses an additional risk," the ministry said in a statement.

Shortages reported as parts of Atlantic Canada recover from three days of heavy rain

  Shortages reported as parts of Atlantic Canada recover from three days of heavy rain Shortages of bread, milk and other staples were reported Thursday from communities in southwestern Newfoundland left isolated by a storm that dumped almost 200 millimetres of rain on the area, washing out roads and bridges. And in eastern and northern Nova Scotia, work crews fanned out to pump water from basements and repair roads inundated by torrential rainfall that had hammered parts of Atlantic Canada for three days. In the coastal town of Port aux Basques, in the southwest corner of Newfoundland, repairs were underway on several roads, including the Trans-Canada Highway, and a helicopter was used Wednesday to rescue some residents trapped in a yurt — a round, tent

The length of the closures will depend on weather and they will be re-evaluated Sunday morning, it said.

Special weather alerts and rainfall warnings covering Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, the Sunshine Coast and parts of Vancouver Island.

Environment Canada warned up to 120mm of rain could fall on mountainous regions like Squamish by Sunday afternoon, while other regions struggling to recover from recent floods also braced for more rain.

The centre that monitors the province's waterways upgraded its advisory Saturday for parts of Vancouver Island to a flood watch, meaning rising rivers could spill out of the channels and flood nearby areas.

The River Forecast Centre's flood watch applied south of Campbell River and Gold River, with the heaviest rainfall expected around Port Renfrew through to Cowichan Lake and the Sooke River watershed.

The centre further warned that the potential for flood flows extend onto the eastern slopes of Vancouver Island, including the Koksilah, Chemainus, Cowichan and Englishman rivers and surrounding areas.

Intense weather heads for B.C., slow pipeline restart as prime minister to visit

  Intense weather heads for B.C., slow pipeline restart as prime minister to visit VICTORIA — Rainstorms of increasing intensity are forecast to hit British Columbia over the coming days, prompting warnings for people to be prepared to evacuate. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the biggest storm is expected to arrive Tuesday and people living in areas prone to flooding should be on alert. "The time to prepare is now," he told a news conference Thursday. Farnworth urged people to have food, water, blankets and flashlights ready in case of rising waters in their communities, as a second storm in a three-storm series is to arrive Saturday.

"The public is advised to stay clear of the fast-flowing rivers and potentially unstable riverbanks during the high-streamflow period," the centre said in a statement.

Flood watches were already in place for much of the Lower Mainland, and the centre added new high streamflow advisories for parts of the Interior around the Tulameen, Similkameen, Coldwater and Nicola rivers.

"Flooding last week has created increased vulnerabilities throughout the region and forecast flows, leading to increased risks to impacts," it said.

In addition to weather concerns, the province said the closure of Highway 1 between Popkum and Hope is necessary due to reservoir releases by BC Hydro. It said the move is crucial to protect the Jones Lake Reservoir, which is also being affected by heavy rain.

BC Hydro said in a video statement that it's working with the Ministry to monitor the reservoir and is prepared to release water to prevent overflows.

Crews were on standby across the province should the storms cause power outages, it added.

On Friday, Trudeau and Horgan held a press conference announcing a joint committee of cabinet ministers to deal with the devastation caused by flooding.

Trudeau said the committee would be used to establish a model for the rest of Canada as it deals with the effects of climate change.

The federal and provincial governments both also pledged to match donations for flood relief that are given to the Red Cross.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2021.

— By Amy Smart in Vancouver.

The Canadian Press

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