Flooding near Highway 1 at Somenos Marsh in Duncan on Feb. 1, 2020. (Kevin Rothbauer/News Staff)

VIDEO: Heavy rain on B.C. coast swells rivers, floods roads and forces evacuations

Local state of emergency declared in Cowichan Valley

Relentless rain along B.C.’s south coast has closed roads, swollen rivers and prompted a state of local emergency in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island.

A statement from the Cowichan Valley Regional District says widespread flooding forced more than two dozen residents to evacuate early Saturday as key transportation corridors were cut off by rising flood water.

The district says in a statement that about 28 evacuated residents from North Cowichan and the Halalt First Nation were staying at the local community centre.

Environment Canada pinned the problem on an atmospheric river of subtropical moisture from the Pacific, bringing rainfall totals ranging from 60 to 120 millimetres for Vancouver Island, Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and up the Howe Sound to Whistler.

Numerous roads throughout those areas were closed because of flooding and mudslides.

The River Forecast Centre has issued flood watches, warning that rivers and streams could exceed their banks in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and southern and western Vancouver Island.

All that rain on the coast is snow in B.C.’s Interior and southern Alberta.

An avalanche bulletin has been posted for Jasper National Park, with a danger rating through to Sunday of extreme from the alpine to below the treeline, meaning natural and human-triggered avalanches are certain.

The avalanche rating is high for several mountain ranges in B.C.’s southern Interior, the northern Rockies and South Coast Inland.

The Canadian Press

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