B.C. urges people to prepare for atmospheric river bearing down on south coast

B.C. urges people to prepare for atmospheric river bearing down on south coast
Strong winds push across Vancouver Island during a storm, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021.

A bulletin has been issued warning residents in southwestern British Columbia to prepare for an atmospheric river bearing down on the area.

The statement from the Ministry of Emergency Management says Environment Canada is forecasting a series of storms bringing heavy rain until Thursday, with a peak expected on Tuesday.

It says western Vancouver Island, Howe Sound, the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and coastal mountains will see heavy rain starting Monday, but with four days before the peak, there’s uncertainty around the total amounts of rain and snow.

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A subsequent statement from the Transportation Ministry says the weather office is forecasting 10 to 20 centimetres of snow on the Sea to Sky Highway starting Friday evening.

It says snowfall is also expected in the eastern Fraser Valley toward Hope, and on the Coquihalla Highway as well as Highway 3 between Hope and Princeton.

The bulletins come just over two years after a series of atmospheric rivers spurred landslides that killed five people, while widespread flooding washed out key stretches of highways and swamped homes and farmland east of Vancouver.

The province says B.C.’s River Forecast Centre monitors forecasts closely and it will issue advisories and warnings should they be required during next week’s storm.

Officials are asking people to take precautions to ensure personal safety, including developing a household plan, putting together emergency kits, connecting with neighbours and learning about their local government’s emergency response plan.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2023.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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