Rising floodwater surrounds a home and covers Highway 1 in Abbotsford,  B.C., Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

B.C. braces for heavy rain, potential floods as latest atmospheric river arrives

Up to 150 millimetres of rain pending in a series of waves that won’t relent until Thursday

The latest atmospheric river to wash over British Columbia was expected to soak parts of the south coast with as much as 150 millimetres of rain in a series of waves that won’t relent until Thursday, Environment Canada said.

Rainfall warnings covered the west coast of Vancouver Island and the inner south coast, including Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

The storm’s first torrent on Tuesday was to be followed by a second intense gush Wednesday and a final one early Thursday, said the weather office.

Forecasters warned warmer temperatures accompanying the storm would push freezing levels as high as 2,500 metres by Wednesday, melting mid-level snowpacks and swelling area waterways.

Emergency Management BC urged homeowners to prepare for potential floods by clearing storm drains, cleaning gutters and confirming where sandbags can be picked up from local governments.

High streamflow advisories were also posted across all of Vancouver Island and the south coast while Avalanche Canada raised the risk of a slide on Vancouver Island, south coast and Sea-to-Sky mountains to high, meaning very dangerous avalanche conditions exist.

“Wait out this storm,” said a post on the Avalanche Canada website, advising that travel on southern coastal mountains was not recommended until conditions improve.

“Expect loose wet avalanches to be widespread at all elevations, and easily triggered,” the site said.

Although the City of Abbotsford, which was badly damaged during catastrophic flooding in November, was covered by rain warnings linked to the storm, forecasts showed the region would likely dodge the worst of the downpours.

Environment Canada said that part of the Fraser Valley could see no more than 10 mm of rain Tuesday, up to 40 mm overnight and a maximum of 20 mm Wednesday.

The city remains under the state of emergency, which was declared as rivers rose in November, and has told residents in low-lying areas to prepare for the potential of localized flooding.

—The Canadian Press

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