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The Sumas River under a flood watch after heavy rains in British Columbia

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jan29,2024

The Sumas River under a flood watch after heavy rains in British Columbia

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A flooded farm on the Sumas Prairie, in Abbotsford, British Columbia on December 3, 2021. (File photo)

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The Sumas River has exceeded the level of the bank or will exceed it shortly, warns the British Columbia River Forecast Center. This overflow will cause flooding of adjacent areas of the watercourses concerned

At approximately 1:30 p.m., the province changed the flood risk to a flood watch for the Sumas River. Sumas Flats, located near Abbotsford, was the scene of catastrophic flooding in 2021.

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Gilles Wendling, hydrogeologist, advises that the southwest region of British Columbia should receive in two to three days [the equivalent] of a tenth of the annual precipitation, which is significant in terms of quantity.

In an interview with RDI, the hydrogeologist warns that the hot weather mixed with rain should aggravate the risk of flooding, even if it will be less severe than what was experienced in 2021.

It's January […] there at the top of Whistler, it's raining. Heavy rain on snow will lead to melting of the snow, so the melting of the snow will accumulate with heavy precipitation, so we definitely risk having waterlogged rivers. p>A quote from Gilles Wendling, hydrogeologist

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For Gilles Wendling, the heavy rains falling on the snow could cause flooding in certain areas of British Columbia.

Despite a lull in the morning of Sunday, heavy precipitation caused by an atmospheric river will fall again in the evening on the southwest of the province and the Sunshine Coast.

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Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement until Monday for the coast southern British Columbia. Heavy rainfall could cause an increased risk of flooding, water accumulation and landslides until mid-week.

Moreover, the British Columbia River Forecast Center warns of a risk of river systems overflowing. It maintains a flood risk for the south coast, the Fraser Valley from Port Coquitlam to Fort Harrison, and Vancouver Island.

Environment Canada estimates that the mild weather and large amounts of rain will cause snow to melt in the mountains. According to Avalanche Canada, hazardous conditions will persist for the remainder of the end of the week and early next week.

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A special weather statement is in effect until Monday for the south coast of British Columbia.

Between 200 and 400 millimeters of rain are forecast along the coast and on western Vancouver Island over the next few days, according to the province's River Regime Forecast Center.

To prepare for upcoming atmospheric rivers, cities can check the state of their infrastructure, like dikes, advises the hydrogeologist.

However, it is time to take the climate crisis seriously, insists Gilles Wendling. He deplores that Canada is still a large emitter of greenhouse gases and that British Columbia is still a large producer of shale gas.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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