Port Alberni seems to have escaped—for now—the brunt of the storm that prompted warnings from Environment Canada on the weekend.
Although an estimated 50 millimetres of rain had already fallen by mid-afternoon, and a “king” tide was expected, the area hasn’t been hit by too much flooding.
Western Forest Products posted in the early afternoon that Bamfield Main was flooded at the 69-kilometre mark, warning people trying to get to Bamfield.
The B.C. River Forecast Centre has issued a high streamflow advisory for the Somass and Stamp rivers. That means river levels are rising, but no major flooding is expected. People living along the Somass River know that this can change quickly, however. The next level would be a flood watch, meaning river levels are rising and could exceed their banks.
Hugh Braker, head of the Tseshaht First Nations emergency operations centre, posted on social media that he expects the Somass may be raised to a flood watch if the heavy rain continues. He started advising residents of the extreme weather alerts on Saturday.
Residents along the Somass were dealing with high water levels just one year ago.
The City of Port Alberni hasn’t seen much in the way of flooding either.
“We’ve been out freeing our catch basins as they’re reported to us or as our (public works) guys see them,” said Wilf Taekema, director of engineering and public works for the City of Port Alberni.
“There hasn’t been anything major this afternoon.”
Taekema said there are approximately 2,500 drains in the city, and they can’t reach all of them to keep them clear. He asked residents to keep drains in front of their homes clear. “If there’s drains they notice are clogged with leaves and debris, if they could clear that away from them it would be helpful,” he said.
“Our sweeper’s been out and gotten a good bulk of the leaves taken care of already.”
The king tide, or extreme high tide, came and went at 2 p.m. but Taekema had not received any information on flooding at high tide.
“Usually no news is good news,” he said.
Anyone needing sandbags can go to the public works parking lot on Sixth Avenue, where a sandbag station is usually set up in anticipation of extreme weather.