City of Courtenay deploys Aqua Dam as major storm hits Vancouver Island

WatchSnow, heavy rain and strong winds could hit much of Vancouver Island Monday night and Tuesday.

The City of Courtenay deployed its Aqua Dam Monday in anticipation of rising rivers in the area overnight and Tuesday.

The water-filled barrier is being set up along the Tsolulm River in Lewis Park at the end of a permanent “tall wall” barrier put in place a few years ago.

“It’s a precautionary measure we put up annually in anticipation of these events and it’s about safeguarding the public,” said Director of Public Works Services for the City of Courtenay Kyle Shaw.

The measure is being taken because a meteorological “weather bomb” will hit the Central Coast early tomorrow. The storm is so big all of Vancouver Island was under wind warnings or a special weather statement Monday.

“Even if it’s way up on the Central Coast, down here on the south end of Vancouver Island we’re still dealing with the winds associated with a system that far away so it gives you an indication how strong these systems are,” said Environment Canada Warning Preparedness Meteorologist Armel Castellan.

Environment Canada says there could be a period of heavy snow for places like the Port Alberni Pass and Sutton Pass on Highway 4 or on Highway 28 to Gold River and Highway 19 north of Campbell River.

Two to five centimtres could fall in these areas before temperatures warm up overnight.

There will be heavy rain across most of the island and in the Comox Valley, the rain-swollen Browns and Tsolum rivers combined with a storm surge from strong southeast winds and a king tide in the Courtenay estuary at 7:47 am Tuesday could result in flooding.

BC Hydro will dramatically restrict flows out of the Comox Lake Reservoir into the Puntledge River.

All three of those rivers converge near downtown Courtenay.

“We’re going to have the Tsolulm and Browns Rivers peak around that early morning time period on Tuesday with a king tide so within that we decided we needed to be really well prepared for that in terms of holding back at Comox Lake Reservoir,” said BC Hydro Spokesperson Stephen Watson.

The Aqua Dam will now stay in place for the entire winter in anticipation of even more storms.

Want to learn more about the Aqua Dam? Click here.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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