Environment Canada issues 'red alert' for B.C. as more storms approach
An "extraordinary" amount of rain has fallen on British Columbia this fall, saturating the ground and making disasters like the one that struck the province earlier this month more likely, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada.
The situation has prompted the weather agency to issue an unprecedented "red alert" for parts of the province already devastated by the previous storm.
Speaking to reporters in a technical briefing Friday, warning preparedness meteorologist Armel Castellan said some weather stations - including those in Victoria, Vancouver and Abbotsford - have recorded their wettest-ever fall seasons.
This summer's drought and wildfires - as well as changes on the ground caused by previous wildfire seasons - have exacerbated conditions, he added.
"The landscape is completely saturated," Castellan said. "Any extra moisture runs down much more easily and much quicker."
That extra moisture could come from melting snow as two more atmospheric rivers bring warm tropical air to the province over the coming days.
The addition of snowmelt to potentially heavy rain this weekend and midweek next week has prompted the B.C. River Forecast Centre to issue flood watches and high streamflow advisories across the province's coast.
"The worst-case scenario is still not super likely - for Tuesday and Wednesday being as bad as what we saw middle of the month - but it does exist," Castellan said. "We hope that everybody is prepared, feeling ready, doing as much as they can in anticipation of this extraordinary set of storms that is affecting the South Coast."
All of this adds up to a uniquely dangerous situation in British Columbia, which saw another atmospheric river drop 40 to 60 millimetres of rain on Thursday and is expected to see two more such storms by next Wednesday.
"The red level (alert) is something new that we have not issued (before)," Castellan said. "In fact, probably 10, 20 years ago when I started this career, this would be something that we may not see in a given career."
He said in hindsight, he would have wanted to issue a red alert ahead of the heat dome that ended up killing nearly 600 people across B.C. over the summer.
The weather agency didn't issue such an alert at the time, something Castellan attributed to "the difficulties of forecasting."
What makes the current situation unique is the obvious vulnerability of parts of the province - such as Abbotsford, Merritt and the highways connecting the Lower Mainland to the Interior - that are still recovering from the last storm.
"This alert, it's really due to the vulnerabilities that are on the ground, particularly in the Fraser Valley, where we have the Sumas Prairie still recovering from the previous event," Castellan said.
The Sumas Prairie is a 90-square-kilometre low-lying area in the southeast corner of the City of Abbotsford. Much of the prairie is the former Sumas Lake, which refilled with floodwater from the nearby Sumas River and the Nooksack River in the United States during the last storm.
On Thursday, the city's mayor said he expected it to take weeks for the remaining floodwater to be pumped out of the former lake.
U.S. officials have issued a flood watch for northwestern Washington State, including the Nooksack River, for the coming weekend.
Vancouver Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Trudeau decries 'fringe' views of some in trucker convoy, as police prepare for its arrival in Ottawa
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is decrying the 'fringe' views among some of those who are supporting the trucker convoy making its way to Parliament Hill to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other policies they feel infringe on their freedoms.
Indian police have detained six people in a crackdown on illegal immigration after four Indians were found frozen to death near the border between Canada and the U.S. last week, officials said on Thursday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Wednesday the extension of Operation UNIFIER for three years, and the deployment of 60 more troops to Ukraine in the coming days.
Airline pilot Kyle Hippchen could have -- should have -- been on board when SpaceX launched its first tourists into orbit last year after winning a sweepstakes, but ended up giving the honour to a friend.
Ukrainian police on Thursday detained a National Guard soldier who shot security guards at a military factory for unknown reasons, killing five people and injuring five others, the interior minister said in a Facebook post.
CTV News in Ukraine | 'If I'm called, I will go': Ukrainian reservist and former Voice contestant ready to fight Russian threat
CTV's Omar Sachedina speaks to a Ukrainian reservist and former contestant on Ukraine's version of 'The Voice' about the looming threat of war with Russia.
Crushing poverty is forcing displaced people in Afghanistan to make some very desperate choices, including selling organs or even their own girls into marriage to adult men.
'So many angry people': Experts say online conversation around trucker convoy veering into dangerous territory
As a growing group of truckers and supporters make their way to Ottawa in a protest against vaccine mandates, experts say the rhetoric online concerning the convoy is getting increasingly worrisome.
The Public Health Agency of Canada says it has detected more than 50 cases of a new Omicron subvariant known as BA.2. The subvariant is widely considered 'stealthier' than the original version of Omicron because some of its genetic traits make it harder to detect.
Five deaths related to COVID-19 were confirmed in the Vancouver Island region Wednesday, according to the B.C. Ministry of Health.
British Columbia's forest watchdog has identified four key areas where the management of forestry practices can negatively affect water and outlines potential opportunities for the province to improve regulations.
The British Columbia government says it will distribute up to 250,000 rapid COVID-19 antigen tests to provincially funded child-care providers.
Tuesday’s report of 1,377 COVID-19 patients in hospital was revised to a pandemic-high 1,443 on Wednesday.
'People are fed up': convoy of trucks converges on Ottawa as police prepare for thousands on Parliament Hill
A convoy of hundreds of fed-up Canadian truckers are driving cross-country, heading for the nation’s capital to deliver a message that's raising millions of dollars from donors around the world.
Work is underway converting a vacant Seventh Avenue Calgary office tower into 82 units of affordable and specialized housing.
A junior hockey player in Stony Plain, Alta., has been suspended for eight games after he went into the stands to fight a fan, but his coach says he was defending his mom at the time.
Two events in as many weeks in which Alberta corrections officers fired their weapons is evidence staffing shortages are endangering inmates and staff alike, say sources connected to the prison.
A family is breathing a sigh of relief after a terrifying fire at an apartment in Etobicoke forced a mother to break a second-floor window to save her 10-month-old daughter.
An Ontario woman who says she was offered a free doorbell by a salesperson said she wishes she didn't then sign a 15-year contract for a furnace that will cost her $12,748.
Drivers are being warned to expect significant traffic delays on major highways from Thursday to Saturday as the 'Freedom Convoy' of truckers enters Ontario.
Three COVID-19 patients who were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated have received double lung transplants at a Montreal hospital after their lungs were irreversibly damaged by the disease. One patient was a 49-year-old mother of five.
Since the start of the pandemic, Quebec has issued tickets totaling more than $45 million for public health violations, but only a fraction of them have actually been paid so far, according to data provided to CTV News.
'A terrifying experience’: Montreal mother shares ordeal as ICU sees increase of children admitted with COVID-19 in fifth wave
The medical director at the PICU in the Montreal Children’s Hospital says it is seeing more children get sick with COVID and be sick enough to come to the ICU.
Manitoba's top doctor says hospitalization rates remain high but are stable – though it is too early to tell where the province is in the pandemic's current wave.
A U.S. border patrol agent says a group of people from India attempting to cross the Canada-U.S. border faced blizzard conditions and freezing temperatures during an 11-hour-long trek that left four people dead.
Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer said the province is continuing to see a significant amount of spread of COVID-19.
Nathaniel Carrier has pleaded guilty to first degree murder in connection to the death of his son and second degree murder in connection to the deaths of his parents.
Saskatchewan reported 1,194 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, along with six more deaths, however active cases are down again.
A popular Riversdale restaurant says it's putting a "pause" on its operations.
Saskatchewan’s premier is hinting some COVID-19 restrictions could soon be lifted, saying current measures may have run their course.
Whether its memories of attending them, or the recent discoveries of unmarked graves at the sites of former residential schools, many people have been mentally strained by the former schools.
Sylvester Ukabam, a former Regina doctor accused of sexually assaulting five female patients, continued to deny allegations made against him from the witness stand on Wednesday morning.
Premier Tim Houston said Nova Scotia is extending its current provincewide COVID-19 public health restrictions until Feb. 14 in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus.
An area of low pressure originating off the coastline of Florida will merge with a cold front on Friday. The resulting storm will rapidly strengthen into a nor’easter, which will move north to impact the Maritimes Saturday into Sunday.
The Halifax Regional Police are on the scene of a sudden death at a hotel in the city.
Matt and Tim Devereaux are sending three of their transports to Ottawa this weekend to protest mandatory vaccines for truckers crossing the border.
Dash-camera footage shows a collision happening as a fire truck approaches: emergency responders offer advice.
London could start losing ground in its efforts to alleviate the housing crisis unless City Hall intervenes.
Sault Ste. Marie's Group Health Centre has been granted an extension by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario for its annual Big Wish Lottery.
While the region is not out of the woods with regard to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, Algoma's medical officer of health says there is reason for optimism.
In the next few months, the Timmins Youth Wellness Hub will be getting ready to open up its new permanent location.
All Region of Waterloo vaccination clinics will offer walk-ins for all eligible residents, starting Jan. 31.
Officials reported four new deaths related to COVID-19 on Wednesday, along with a dip in hospitalizations.
'There are some calls that stick with you': A dramatic increase in mental health disability claims amongst first responders
First responders, like paramedics, firefighters, and police officers say they often deal with mental health challenges.