Southern B.C. remained on “red alert” Saturday, as the first of back-to-back storms began drenching the already flood-weary part of the province.
Officials in two parts of the province issued new evacuation alerts amid concerns of flooding from the latest heavy rain.
In the interior, officials with the Thompson Nicola Regional District issued alerts for properties in electoral areas “I,” “M” and “N.”
And in the area around Pemberton, the Squamish Lillooet Regional District issued alerts for just under two dozen properties in the Pemberton Meadows.
Environment Canada rainfall warnings remained in effect for Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Howe Sound, the Sea to Sky region and Sunshine Coast.
Rainfall amounts ranging from 60 mm in Vancouver to 80 mm in the Fraser Valley and up to 120 mm around Squamish and near the mountains were forecast.
“Strong warming will accompany this system causing freezing levels to rise well above the mountain tops today. Snowmelt will contribute to runoff, increasing the risk of flooding and possibly impacting vulnerable landscapes and infrastructure,” Environment Canada said.
The still flood-plagued Sumas region of Abbotsford remained under a flood warning, with the state of Washington’s Nooksack River at risk of breaking its banks again on Sunday, while the entire South Coast remained under a flood watch.
The BC River Forecast Centre also issued a flood watch for Vancouver Island, with the exception of the northern region which was under a high streamflow advisory — as were the Tulameen, Similkameen, Coldwater and Nicola rivers in B.C.’s Interior.
Eastern, western and northern Vancouver Island also faced rainfall warnings, while the Fraser Canyon, Coquihalla between Hope and Merritt and Highway 3 from Hope to Princeton also faced weather statements warning of heavy rain.
Highway 1 through the Fraser Canyon remained closed due to landslides, while the latter two highways were closed as a precaution Saturday after suffering heavy damage from the devastating Nov. 14 atmospheric river.
The heaviest rain is forecast to fall Saturday night, and the precipitation is expected to ease into Sunday afternoon.
Another storm remains forecast to hit the region on Wednesday and Thursday.
The storms paired with the already damaged and vulnerable nature of the landscape prompted Environment Canada to issue its first-ever “red level alert” on Friday.
The new ranking system didn’t exist during B.C.’s deadly heat wave or destructive wildfire season.