A slide has closed the Coquihalla between Hope and Merritt on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2021. (Transportation BC/Twitter)

British Columbians warned to brace for further torrential rain, flooding through Monday

The atmospheric river has closed highways and caused flash flooding, evacuation alerts across B.C.

Southern B.C. was hit with torrential downpour Saturday night and Sunday, sparking flash flooding and mudslides that have closed a number of major routes and highways, as well as forced a number of residents to be put on evacuation alerts.

A flood watch has been issued for the Coquihalla River, and Environment Canada is forecasting 150 mm of rain to fall in the Lower Mainland by Monday evening.

Highway 1, 3 and 7 are all closed due to the flooding, with several mud and rockslides reported along the routes connecting the Lower Mainland and interior B.C.

Geotechnical experts will be examining the various areas Monday upon daylight.

Meanwhile, the Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Task Force team is responding to a landslide on Highway 1 between Agassiz and Spences Bridge. Roughly 50 vehicles are believed to be trapped.

Here is what we know as of 8:00 a.m.:

Fraser Valley

Abbotsford Police say at least 50 homes have been impacted by flooding. A reception centre for anyone who has been evacuated or can’t return home has been set up at Abbotsford Recreation Centre, 2499 McMillan Rd.

A number of road closures are in effect in the Fraser Valley, including the Sumas border.

ALSO READ: Multiple vehicles washed off Lougheed Highway, Rockwell Drive closed due to landslide

A further 190 to 210 mm of rainfall is supposed to wreak havoc on the Fraser Valley by Monday afternoon.

The Chilliwack River is also being closely watched after a flood watch was issued by the River Forecast Centre, while the Coquihalla River remains under a flood warning. Fraser Canyon tributaries, including some around Hope, are also under a flood watch.

Okanagan

Many are keeping a close eye on the Tulameen River near Princeton, which swelled on Sunday, sparking evacuation orders for low-lying homes by the Regional District of the Okanagan-Similkameen.

An emergency centre has been set up at 148 Old Hedley Road.

The Wooden Bridge has been closed due to water levels so all traffic is being rerouted through Highway 5A.

The rest of the Okanagan Valley is being urged to brace for nasty storm conditions, with winds gusting between 50 to 70 kilometres per hour.

“Winds will ease tonight as the low moves further east,” the weather agency says.

Highway 1 was also closed Monday morning between Revelstoke and Sicamous.

As of Monday morning, properties in the Coldwater River 200 year flood plain in the Merritt Area are under an evacuation order. The emergency reception centre for evacuees has been set up at Merritt Civic Centre, 1950 Mamette Ave.

Metro Vancouver

Metro Vancouver is facing rainfall and wind warnings from Environment Canada. The sub-region has already received 75 to 100 mm of rain this weekend, with further amounts of 30 to 40 mm expected Monday.

Meanwhile, northwest winds are forecast to reach 70 kilometres to 90 kilometres per hour, expected around noon.

“These winds will be strongest near the water, with gusts up to 90 kilometres per hour possible. For areas away from the water, gusty winds are still possible but are not expected to be as strong. Winds will ease early this evening as the frontal system moves further inland,” the weather agency’s bulletin reads.

Vancouver Island

Much of the Island is under rainfall warnings, upwards of 100 mm through Monday morning.

High freezing levels with melting snow will give rise to increased river flows and localized flooding, Environment Canada warns.

Heavy rain in Duncan led to evacuations at at least one apartment building, where residents were left asking why the evacuation order did not come until well after the flooding had started.

READ MORE: Flood leaves apartment residents stranded next to North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment

In East Vancouver Island, rainfall could reach 75-135 mm of storm totals. On western Vancouver Island, forecasts show about 100 mm anticipated.

In Greater Victoria, 75 to 135 mm is expected to fall, mixed with adverse windy conditions.

Kootenays

West Columbia is expected to get hit with the atmospheric river, including Kootenay Lake and northern sections of Arrow Lakes.

Roughly 10 to 25 mm of rain is expected in the area.

Elk Valley is being warned to brace for torrential rain. The ground, already near saturation, has little ability to absorb further rainfall, says Environment Canada. Up to 40 mm is expected over that section of the Kootenays.

East Columbia is under a snowfall warning, with up 10 10 cm anticipated. As snow levels rise this afternoon, the snow will change to rain.

Highway 93 is closed between Radium Hot Springs, B.C., and Banff, Alta.

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