Port Alberni residents David Giles

Year in review 2016: Flooding

In November of 2016, heavy rainfall in the Alberni Valley caused high river levels and flooding for the Tseshaht First Nation

November brought on heavy rainfall for the Alberni Valley causing the Tseshaht First Nation to declare a state of emergency and issue evacuations.

The declaration was announced at 3 p.m. on Nov. 4 by Tseshaht emergency preparedness committee chair Hugh Braker.

Environment Canada estimated 100 to 150mm of rainfall on the western slopes of inland Vancouver Island during that time.

“I’m debating whether or not I should use the word catastrophic,” Braker told close to 25 residents who live near the Somass River on Tsahaheh I.R. #1 during an emergency community meeting at the Tseshaht office on Friday, Nov. 4.

By Friday afternoon more than 1,000 sandbags were filled and made available for homes along the Somass River and volunteers continued to fill bags into the evening.

The BC River Forecast Centre downgraded their alert for the Somass and Sproat Rivers from a flood warning to a flood watch on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at noon.

Due to the flooding, the Tseshaht First Nation spent several days under a boil-water advisory.

On the week of Nov. 10, the River Forecast Centre maintained a flood warning for the Somass and Sproat Rivers and surrounding tributaries and creeks near Port Alberni.

The heavy rainfalls caused water levels at Sproat Lake to rise greatly creating flooding in the area that some residents haven’t seen since 1992.

“We’ve lived at the lake since 1980,” said Tom McEvay, Sproat Lake resident.

“1992 is the year that most people talk about as being the previously highest water they had ever seen.”

Over a couple weeks McEvay said he noticed the lake rise about 8 feet.

Sproat Lake Landing and Tall Timbers Holiday Park also experienced flooding.

The BC River Forecast Centre downgraded their alert for the Somass and Sproat Rivers from a flood warning to a flood watch on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at noon.

Previous 2016 flooding stories:

Tseshaht First Nation declare state of emergency

Somas’s River flood warning downgrade

Flooding ensues at Sproat Lake

 

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