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Floodwatch, avalanche warnings issued for parts of Vancouver Island

Some south coast rivers and streams could exceed levels seen only every five years.
Westholme Road in Chemainus during last month’s flooding. (Black Press Media file photo)

Flood watches are up for several regions of Vancouver Island and the a high avalanche risk warning has been issued as wet weather continues to pummel the region.

Another day of heavy rain, combined with snowmelt and a leap in freezing levels, could push some waterways over their banks on the Island and in other parts of southwestern B.C.

The River Forecast Centre says rivers and streams on Vancouver’s North Shore mountains and in areas around Squamish, the Sunshine Coast and much of central, east and southern Vancouver Island could exceed levels seen only every five years. Areas under flood watch include most of the Island’s heavily populated southeastern corridor.

Hydrologists expect those waterways to peak by Saturday, while high streamflow advisories remain posted for rivers across north and west Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley.

Environment Canada is maintaining rainfall warnings for east and west Vancouver Island, Metro Vancouver and the region from the Sunshine Coast to the Fraser Valley.

It says rainfall totals in the hardest hit areas of Tofino, Port Alberni and Squamish have nudged 100 millimetres since Thursday and as much as 50 more millimetres could fall in those regions before conditions ease.

Meanwhile, an earlier high avalanche risk warning has been extended to now span from Vancouver Island and the coastal mountains to southern Interior ranges north and south of Kamloops/

Avalanche Canada warns the storm will also increase the chance of slides due to a multi-layered, weak and unstable snowpack.

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