Flooding and avalanche risk to increase this weekend due to B.C. storm

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      Outdoor enthusiasts are being urged to be cautious around rivers and creeks or in the mountains due to a storm that's anticipated to hit coastal B.C. this weekend.

      Today (January 26), the B.C. River Forecast Centre issued high streamflow advisories for numerous areas in the province, including Vancouver Island and the central coast. For the south coast, a flood warning has been issued for the following areas (including surrounding creeks and tributaries):

      • the North Shore mountains (including the Seymour River);
      • Howe Sound (and the Stawamus River);
      • the Sunshine Coast (including Gibsons and Sechelt);
      • and the Fraser Valley (including the Chilliwack River).

      A storm is anticipated to hit the British Columbia south coast on Sunday and Monday (January 28 and 29). Between 50 to 200 millimetres of rainfall is forecast to fall. River levels are therefore expected to rise, with peaks anticipated for Monday and Tuesday (January 29 and 30).

      Runoff may be increased by snowmelt from mid-elevation terrain.

      As snow may fall in higher terrains, including the Squamish River and Lillooet River, river levels are expected to be lower there than in coastal areas.

      This past week, some dangerous situations and tragedies already occured on Vancouver Island due to heavy rains.

      On January 21, three people riding an all-terrain vehicle were swept away by a creek near Campbell River that was overflowing, and full of logs and debris, due to a recent storm. The bodies of two missing people, a father and daughter, were recovered on January 22. The third perseon, a friend of the daughter, made it to safety and was taken to hospital.

      On the same day, heavy rain triggered a mudslide in Campbell River when a slope gave way. According to an announcement from the City of Campbell River, evacuation orders were issued for four homes. However, when a tree fell and partly collapsed a house, two seniors who were trapped inside had to be rescued by fire crews.

      Meanwhile, avalanche risk is expected to increase this weekend, due to the approaching storm, according to Avalanche Canada.

      Their website outlines the level of risk in various areas of B.C.

      In the south coast region, avalanche risk is forecast to increase from the current considerable risk in alpine regions above the treeline to high risk in alpine regions and considerable risk below the treeline by Sunday (January 28).

      Avalanche risk in the Sea-to-Sky region is expected to increase from the current considerable risk to high risk, both below and above the treeline on Sunday.