Punishing winter weather continued for residents of B.C.’s South Coast on Tuesday, with wind and heavy rain raising new concerns about flooding.
The City of Vancouver issued an advisory warning of “moderate to elevated” flood risk for low-lying areas near the ocean, due to an exceptionally high tide combined with forecast strong winds creating a storm surge.
Tuesday’s high tides were scheduled for 9:44 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
The city closed the seawall from the Lions Gate Bridge to English Bay and in front of the Kits Pool as a precaution. Both of those areas saw significant damage during a similar storm surge and king tide last January.
The city also warned of flooding near the Fraser River, English Bay, False Creek and Burrard Inlet. Low-lying areas in the floodplains will be at an elevated flood risk and may experience overland flooding. These include Southlands, Fraser River floodplain, and Locarno/Spanish Banks.
As of early afternoon, the city said there had been localized flooding in several areas, and that staff were working hard to respond.
The Vancouver Park Board said early indications suggested improvements made to the seawall to address climate disasters like last year’s damaging storm surge had been successful.
“We still continue to see high king tides through the early part of this week, but really the highest of those water levels was earlier today,” Dave Campbell with the B.C. River Forecast Centre said Tuesday.
“We anticipate those are going to improve as we go through the week … hopefully we’re passed the worst of it.”
Read more: Delta B.C., warns residents of potential King Tide flooding, another round of winter storms expected for B.C.
Residents of Delta’s Beach Grove and Boundary Bay neighbourhoods were issued similar warnings, and the city set up sandbag distribution points at Seaview Road, the 1A Avenue boat launch, the 3rd Avenue beach access and 16th Avenue beach access.
Numerous waterfront areas in Delta including the Ladner Harbour Park dock, the Elliot Street Wharf, the entrance to Centennial Beach at the 12th Avenue Dike and the Ladner Government Wharf were closed due to rising waters.
Much of B.C.’s south coast, including Metro Vancouver, the North Shore, the Fraser Valley, Howe Sound, and west, south and east Vancouver Island were under flood watches Tuesday.
There is a risk of flooding and high river levels because of ice-clogged drains and the ground being too frozen to absorb the water.
Northern parts of Metro Vancouver remained under a rainfall warning, with Environment Canada forecasting between 60 and 120 millimetres of rain by Wednesday morning.
Howe Sound faced a triple barrage of weather alerts, with both wind and rainfall warnings coupled with a special weather statement about possible flooding.
The area, including Squamish, was forecast to see northerly outflow winds of 70 km/h gusting to 90, along with between 60 and 120 millimetres of rain by Wednesday.
Greater Victoria and the Southern Gulf Islands were also facing wind warnings, with the southeast winds of 70 km/h gusting to 90 km/h forecast, shifting to westerly 70 km/h gusting to 90 Tuesday night.