Rain prompts B.C. highway closures, avalanche risks
British Columbians woke up to another day of extreme weather woes on the south coast. Melting snow, combined with heavy rainfall, has led to major flooding across many parts of Metro Vancouver.
With as much as 150 millimetres of rain coming down in the next two days, pooling water is forcing road closures across the region.
Several low-lying areas in the Vancouver suburbs of Burnaby, Surrey, Langley and Coquitlam are already under water as rain and snow-swollen creeks begin to overflow.
Municipalities are asking homeowners to do their part by shovelling out catch basins and keeping drains clear to allow the water to flow properly into storm drains.
They are also asked to report any severe flooding in their area and to stay away from small creeks and rivers, which can be unstable and fill up quickly. Approximately 800 workers from the city of Vancouver are out in full force today as part of the city's new emergency weather program.
The deluge of rain is also causing large potholes to open up on major commuter routes in and out of Vancouver. The Oak Street Bridge is especially affected, with new craters slowing down drivers on their morning commute into the city.
The situation is expected to worsen over the next day. Rain warnings remain posted across the province. As much as 100 millimetres of rain is expected for Metro Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. The Fraser Valley is expected to be the hardest hit, with up to 150 millimetres of rain.
The weather is also causing a number of highway closures throughout British Columbia.
Highway 14 on Vancouver Island is closed from Port Renfrew to Langford because of flooding. The community of Sooke, 30 kilometres west of Victoria, was completely shut off this morning -- but is now allowing one lane of alternating traffic into the town.
Bill Hadikin, the town's emergency operations co-ordinator says even if the rain slows today, it will take some time for the water to recede from major roadways.
"We've got a lot of water runoff and there's nowhere for it to go," said Hadikin. "We can't get it out any faster then it's coming in."
With another 60 millimetres of rain forecast for the west coast of Vancouver Island by tomorrow, the situation will likely get worse. The water is already more than half a metre deep over parts of the highway.
More problems on B.C. roadways
Incessant rain overnight in B.C.'s Fraser Valley is being blamed for a mudslide that has closed the eastbound lanes of Highway 1 east of Laidlaw, just west of Hope.
The slide started around 5 a.m. and highway crews are now trying to assess the damage to the road. Masses of trees and mud have splayed across the highway, cutting off access for travellers.
A number of southern highways are also closed because of extreme avalanche risks.
Sections of Highway 3 and Highway 1 east and west of Revelstoke are closed because of the risk of a slide.
Some sections, including Highway 1 between Revelstoke and Golden may not reopen until later this afternoon.
With files from The Canadian Press