The Somass River in the Alberni Valley floods during a 2018 heavy rain event. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)

The Somass River in the Alberni Valley floods during a 2018 heavy rain event. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)

Heavy rainfall could spell flooding for Somass, Stamp Rivers near Port Alberni

BC River Forecast Centre issues high streamflow advisory for all of Vancouver Island

The BC River Forecast Centre has issued a high streamflow advisory for the Somass and Sproat rivers, among others throughout Vancouver Island.

The advisory comes on the heels of a rainfall warning issued by Environment Canada for Inland Vancouver Island and West Vancouver Island.

As much as 100 to 150 mm of heavy rain is expected to fall between Thursday night and Saturday morning as a low pressure system with subtropical moisture moves onto the B.C. coast. Environment Canada warns that heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads.

Mainroad Mid Island Contracting issued a weather advisory Thursday afternoon and said highways crews will be patrolling for flooding problems on all service area highways for the next 24 hours.

Tseshaht First Nations emergency coordinator Hugh Braker warns people living on the Somass River and at Sproat Lake to be prepared for flooding.

“I expect that to go all the way to a flood warning by Friday night or Saturday morning,” said Hugh Braker, emergency coordinator for the Tseshaht First Nation. “The Somass River is already over its banks a bit in some places.”

Braker cautioned people living in low-lying areas along the river to move belongings away from the river and creeks, to secure boats moored on the river and prepare for flooding.

He said there is “no reason to panic at this point. Just take reasonable precautions.”

The City of Port Alberni has a sandbag station set up in the parking lot of the public works yard on Sixth Avenue near Roger Street.