Heavy rain has caused localized flooding in Port Alberni and emergency officials are cautioning drivers to watch out for road closures.
Third Avenue between Dunbar Street and Bute Street is closed due to flooding. Fourth Avenue between Burde Street and Napier Street is also blocked off, and traffic is being detoured around these areas. The Port Pub on Argyle Street has also closed due to flooding, according to a social media post.
Hugh Braker, who is part of the Tseshaht First Nation emergency response team, reported heavy rain and severe driving conditions around Cameron Lake late Friday afternoon.
The heavy rain is part of a “robust” frontal system of rain and strong winds that hit B.C.’s south coast on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. Environment Canada was expecting inland areas of Vancouver Island to receive between 60 and 80 millimetres of rain in a 24-hour period.
No infrastructure has failed to cause flooding, said Clinton Wright, manager of operations for the City of Port Alberni.
“The volume of water is overwhelming our natural waterways and crews are working on sandbags around buildings on Third Avenue,” Wright said. “We have a crew of 12 out in support.”
— WX Port Alberni (@ww_portalberni) September 18, 2021
Sand and sandbags are available at three locations: the City of Port Alberni public works yard (4150 Sixth Avenue, in the parking lot near Roger Street); Harold Bishop Firehall (7667 Pacific Rim Highway) in Sproat Lake and Beaver Creek Firehall (6038 Beaver Creek Road). People needing sandbags are asked to bring their own shovels.
For reports of flooding or other concerns over the weekend, the city is asking people to call the non-emergency number at the Port Alberni Fire Department, which is 250-724-1351.
The rain is expected to ease overnight into Saturday.
The heavy rain follows a two-month dry spell for the Alberni Valley, with very little precipitation in September until now.