The BC River Forecast Centre has issued a High Streamflow Advisory for Central Vancouver Island, including Sproat River, Somass River and tributaries and areas around Port Alberni.
A High Streamflow Advisory, according to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, means that river levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly, but that no major flooding is expected. Minor flooding in low-lying areas is possible.
According to Hugh Braker, Tseshaht Emergency Preparedness chair, the river is already spilling over its banks and into people’s yards.
He estimates that evacuations and sandbagging will begin tomorrow.
“Anyone who lives along the river should start preparing for significant flooding,” he said. They can do this by moving property in to higher ground—including livestock, pets and vehicles.
A storm cycle is expected to impact Vancouver Island over the Tuesday to Thursday period. Heavy rainfall is forecasted to be in the 100-150mm range, with the potential for higher amounts where upslope conditions occur.
Braker said the storm will be coming in three pulses—we are experiencing the first pulse today. He estimates that the rain will not let up until Sunday, at the earliest.
River levels are expected to rise through Tuesday, with peak levels expected on Wednesday or Thursday. Flows are currently forecasted to reach similar levels to the November 2016 event, when Highway 4 was temporarily closed due to flooding.
“I anticipate we’re going to have that again,” said Braker. “We’re just going to have to wait and see.”
In the meantime, you can check the River Forecast Centre for updates.