Province warns next 10 days could be ‘quite challenging’ as more storms set to hit B.C.

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Up to 80 millimetres of rain is forecast for Metro Vancouver, Howe Sound, Whistler and the Fraser Valley, starting this morning and continuing until Friday.

Debris litters a road in the Sumas Prairie flood zone in Abbotsford, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 22. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

THE LATEST:

  • A series of storms in coming days and weeks is raising concerns for communities dealing with roads already impacted by flooding and washouts. 
  • British Columbians who were forced to evacuate due to flooding are now entitled to $2,000 from the Red Cross — that’s in addition to other financial support programs.
  • Canadian Pacific Railway resumed operations through B.C. on Tuesday, and Canadian National Rail plans to resume rail traffic today.
  • Non-essential travel restrictions remain in place for several areas of highway impacted by floods.
  • Restaurants are running out of food and other supplies, which is impacting their bottom line after an already difficult two years.
  • Recycle B.C. is asking residents to hang on to glass and foam packaging as transportation delays have forced a temporary pause on collection. 

British Columbia is bracing for more rainfall in the coming days and weeks as the province works to rebuild after unprecedented precipitation earlier this month. 

Up to 80 millimetres of rain is forecast for Metro Vancouver, Howe Sound, Whistler and the Fraser Valley, starting this morning and continuing until Friday.

Strong southeast winds near the water are also predicted as part of this weather system, and freezing levels will rise above mountain tops, which could trigger snowmelt and worsen the flooding situation. 

Hay bales are pictured floating in the middle of a street surrounded by floodwaters in the Sumas Prairie flood zone in Abbotsford on Monday. An already dire flooding situation could worsen as heavy rainfall is predicted for the rest of the week. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The River Forecast Centre has issued a High Streamflow Advisory for the South Coast including the Fraser Valley and near Hope — both of which have been trying to recover from severe flood damage.

Forecasters expect rivers will rise Thursday as a result of the rainfall. 

Wind, rain and snowfall warnings are in effect for parts of Vancouver Island, the Central Coast and North Coast.

But once that storm passes through, another one is set to arrive on the coast on Saturday. 

“The next nine or 10 days could be quite challenging,” Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said during a news conference on Tuesday, as he asked British Columbians to pay close attention to weather forecasts for the coming days.

Abbotsford mayor Henry Braun is advising residents to prepare an emergency kit ahead of the storm. 

Highways closed for non-essential travel

Highways washed out by floods remain closed, though essential travel is allowed in some areas. 

Transportation Minister Rob Fleming advises people to check highways before heading out on the road, because many are closed for non-essential travel. 

An aerial view shows a damaged road near Lytton, B.C., on Nov. 15. (B.C. Ministry of Transportation/Reuters)

On Tuesday, Highway 7 between Hope and Mission was closed to non-essential travel. However, the definition of essential travel was updated to include charter buses, school buses and public transit vehicles so that people are still able to get to school or work. 

“First rule is ask yourself, ‘Do I need to be out there?’ Don’t be out there unless it’s absolutely essential,” Fleming said Tuesday afternoon.

“If you are driving, slow down and follow the direction of traffic control personnel and be patient. It will be slow as you make your commute. If you’re heading out of the Lower Mainland, be prepared for winter conditions.”

Keep recycling at home for now

Road conditions have made it difficult to transport recycling in B.C., which has prompted the organization in charge of recycling to pause collection on some materials. 

Recycle B.C. is asking residents to hang on to their glass and foam, as it has had to temporarily suspend collection from both residential addresses and depots. 

Containers and paper will continue to be collected as usual, because Recycle B.C., says they can be baled and stored more compactly. 

It is unclear how long the collection suspension will last, as the transportation situation in B.C., continues to change.

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