The water at Clutesi Haven Marina rose almost three metres by high tide at 2 p.m.

Weathering the storm

Torrential rains, gusts of wind and high tides pummeled Port Alberni starting early this week.

Torrential rains, gusts of wind and high tides pummeled Port Alberni starting early this week.

A 103 km per hour gust of wind shot a tree from Ron York’s backyard straight into his house just off River Road at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

“It was blowing for a while but then the gusts changed and [the tree] came down.”

Trees weren’t the only things falling in Port Alberni.

Monday, Dec. 8 had heavy rainfall, with 115 mm falling in the Valley over the course of the day, more than the Dec. 8 historical high of 45 mm in 1999.

Thousands of residents were left without power both within Port Alberni and in the surrounding areas and some residents experienced flooding in their homes.

Third Avenue and Bute Street was the hardest hit, with the water level rising to almost a foot above the road surface just before 2 a.m. on Dec. 9 and up to waist height by 9 a.m., leading to the area between Napier Street and Redford Street being cordoned off in the early morning.

According to city engineer Guy Cicon, the water on Third Avenue was rainwater and not flooding from the inlet.

High tides however were partially responsible for the flooding at the Clutesi Haven Marina, where close to half the parking lot was flooded with over a foot of water. The Somass River rose close to three metres, right up to the docks.

Compton Road and Grandview Road also had some flooding due to the rains but to a lesser extent. Unlike during the heavy rains in October, water from the old ADSS building on Burde Street did not flood the nearby homes.

According to Cicon, all the city’s main drainages were operational.

“They were approaching capacity but they were all functioning.”

While the heavy rains had city crews out at all hours, Cicon said that their work was covered under the operations and maintenance budget and was at no additional cost to the city. “It’s more or less routine work, there isn’t any expense over and above our normal routine operations and maintenance because we haven’t had extraordinary expenses due to the storm.”

There were no serious problems on Dry Creek, Roger Creek, Ship Creek or Kitsuksis Creek.

“They were full but they weren’t breaching anywhere.”

While an additional rainfall warning of 100 mm over the next 24 hours was issued for the south and inland portions of Vancouver Island by Environment Canada at 4:06 p.m. Tuesday, Cicon said that the city’s streams have settled. Third Avenue was back in service by approximately 3 p.m.

According to a regional district press release, residents in low lying areas are urged to be cautious and all residents are encouraged to avoid areas with large amounts of water on the roads, ensure that their property drains remain clear, keep away from water courses if possible and be prepared for power outages and  boil water advisories.

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