The province is warning residents of the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, and the South Coast to prepare now for heavy rains and strong winds on Friday (September 17).
In an email bulletin sent out at 6:55 p.m. Thursday (September 16), Emergency Management B.C. advised that an Environment and Climate Change Canada weather alert has been sent out that covers Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Howe Sound, the Sunshine Coast, Whistler, and most of Vancouver Island.
As well, the provincial River Forecast Centre has warned of high stream flows and possible flooding for parts of the South Coast and Vancouver Island. (Check link for specific areas.)
Emergencey Management B.C. presented the following tips in the bulletin for residents of the areas listed above to familiarize themselves with in case of such alerts and extreme weather events that could include floods, strong winds, and power outages.
* Strong winds can down trees (especially those weakened by drought conditions) and power lines.
* Everyone should be mindful of the danger of falling trees.
* During a power outage or other disruption to infrastructure, you may need to cope at home for a prolonged period without access to amenities like electricity or tap water. To prepare for this, build a household emergency kit with enough non-perishable food, water and supplies to support your household for a week or longer. Make sure it is stored in an easily accessible location that everyone knows about.
* Protect your home from potential floods by clearing out your gutters, maintaining perimeter drains, making sure downspouts are far enough away from your home and checking nearby stormwater drains on your street are free of leaves and blockage.
* Store valuables and important items or documents in watertight containers or in higher places, such as on a tall shelf or upper floor.
* Develop an emergency plan. Knowing what to do will reduce anxiety and help keep you focused and safe.
* Know your neighbours who may require extra care and check on them.
* If your lights go out, check to see whether BC Hydro is already aware of the outage by visiting: bchydro.com
* If your outage is not listed, call 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376), or *49376 (*HYDRO) on your mobile phone. You can also log in to your BC Hydro account to report an outage online.
* Torrential rains can cause overland flooding and creeks and rivers to quickly overflow.
* Avoid these water channels because they tend to fill up quickly. Riverbanks that look stable can be eroded beneath the surface, causing unstable ground that could collapse.
* Keep children and pets away from stream banks and watch for changing conditions, particularly if you live in low-lying areas or near waterways.
* Drive carefully and never attempt to drive through floodwater.
* The depth of water is not always obvious. The road bed may be washed out under the water and sink holes could exist but be unseen.
* Fifteen centimetres (six inches) of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling, while 30.5 centimetres (a foot) of water will float many vehicles.
* If a car begins to flood, abandon it quickly and head to higher ground.