Rainfall warnings, flood watches in place as storm hits Vancouver Island
The B.C. River Forecast Centre has issued flood watches for much of Vancouver Island as another atmospheric river bears down on the province.
The watches are in effect for central, eastern, western and southern Vancouver Island, while the rest of the island remains under a "high streamflow advisory."
A flood watch means that "river levels are rising and will approach or may exceed bankfull," according to the forecast centre, which adds that "flooding of areas adjacent to affected rivers may occur."
Rainfall warnings are also in effect for the east and west coasts of the island, with Environment Canada forecasting 50 to 70 millimetres on the east coast by Sunday morning, and as much as 130 millimetres on the west coast over the same period.
"Strong warming will accompany this system causing freezing levels to rise well above the mountain tops today," the weather agency said in a warning issued early Saturday morning.
"Snowmelt will contribute to runoff, increasing the risk of flooding and possibly impacting vulnerable landscapes and infrastructure."
The river forecast centre says rivers are expected to rise through the day Saturday and overnight, with the Sooke River watershed seeing the "most focused rainfall."
Spillover to the eastern slopes of Vancouver Island is also possible, according to the centre, which warns that "flood flows" are possible on the Koksilah, Chemainus, Cowichan and Englishman rivers and in surrounding areas.
"The public is advised to stay clear of the fast-flowing rivers and potentially unstable riverbanks during the high-streamflow period," the agency said.