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Rainfall warnings for parts of Vancouver Island ahead of third ‘atmospheric river’

The third in a series of “atmospheric rivers” is expected to soon hit Coastal B.C., prompting rainfall warnings for parts of Vancouver Island.

Environment Canada says up to 200 mm of rain will drench both the north and west regions of the island, especially north of Tofino including Zeballos and Tahsis.

The prolonged period of rain will become heavy over the Central Coast and North Island tonight (Monday), before spreading to West Vancouver Island early tomorrow morning.

“Heavy rain will persist through Wednesday,” Environment Canada says. It warns of water pooling on roads and localized flooding in low-lying areas, with increased runoff due to rising freezing levels and snowmelt also likely.

Islandwide flood watch:

Flood watches have been issued for South, East, West, Central and now North Vancouver Island.

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According to the BC River Forecast Centre, this means river levels are rising and will approach or may exceed bankfull.

It says rivers should see easing levels today prior to this next round of rainfall, but then see “rapid rises” tomorrow through Wednesday.

“The public is advised to stay clear of the fast-flowing rivers and potentially unstable riverbanks during the high-stream flow period,” the Forecast Centre adds.

Weekend rain prompts highway closures:

Another weekend of heavy rain has led to more highway closures in southwestern B.C., due to flooding and landslides.

Public Safety Mike Farnworth says people in the region should stay off the roads unless it’s absolutely necessary. But if people must travel, he says they should carry an emergency kit in case they become stranded.

The hard-hit cities of Abbotsford and Merritt have also widened evacuation orders due to rising waters.

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Farnworth adds that the Alert Ready program may be used in the coming days as weather-related challenges arise.

“Should a community or communities feel there is an imminent threat to life or public safety, the province stands ready to issue what we call a broadcast intrusive alert,” he explains.

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