B.C. at Escalating Risk of Another Flood
Is this what spring on the West Coast looks like moving forward? We’ve been patiently waiting for April showers and winter air to pass but many are wondering when they’ll be able to store their parkas and rain boots. A recent snowfall warning was issued just last week advising of high elevation travel routes, including the Coquihalla Highway, Okanagan Connector, Hope-Princeton Highway, and Highway 3 from Paulson Summit to Kootenay Pass. Thanks to below seasonal temperatures, B.C. is yet again at risk of a potential flood if snow begins to melt rapidly in combination with heavy rainfall. Severe thunderstorms are also said to be of concern, potentially causing flooding or flash flooding. This risk may be low but the impacts would be high.
On Wednesday May 4, 2022, at 1:55pm (PDT), Emergency Management British Columbia conducted a test of the Alert Ready system which you may have likely received. The next test is scheduled to occur in November 2022. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced the automated alert system will be ready to warn British Columbians of spring flooding and summer wildfires.
Looking back on the devastation we experienced in 2021, from wildfires and extreme heat waves to destructive flooding, B.C. has become no stranger to these conditions. Although we cannot prevent Mother Nature’s wrath entirely, our past encounters have opened our eyes to thorough planning.
Here are some helpful tips in creating a thorough plan to alleviate financial and emotional distress:
- Monitor the River Forecast Centre for alerts and warnings regarding floods
- Keep up to date with weather forecasts
- Monitor emergency alerts
- Coordinate emergency meeting places
- Plan for special needs
- Insurers can place temporary binding restrictions when there’s an imminent threat of damage by an existing event or condition so know your insurance options well in advance! If you’re not familiar, connect with a Stratis Insurance Advisor today to review any existing home and business insurance or for easy-to-understand options
- Create and keep an Emergency Kit at home and in the car
- Consider placing the following in waterproof bags:
- Food that requires minimal prep
- Can opener
- Water (for drinking and sanitation)
- Bar of soap
- Flashlight or a reliable light versus using your smartphone’s light in order to conserve your phone’s battery
- Portable phone charger
- First Aid Kit
- Garbage bags, toilet paper, disinfectant wipes
- Baby formula
- Medication or medical supplies
- Emergency blanket
- Sleeping bag
- Water purification tablets
- Water purification filters
How to Prevent Your Home from Water Damage or Flooding
- Clear snow away from the foundation of your home (yes, snow is still expected in some areas of the province as mentioned earlier).
- Clean and maintain your gutters regularly to prevent blockage.
- Consider installing a backwater valve or water leak sensors. These alert homeowners of a potential leak in the home .
- Seal cracks in the basement.
- Avoid storing valuables and important documents in the basement. Keep digital files if possible.
- Do not dispose of fat, oils or grease down drains as these contribute to clogged pipes. View Metro Vancouver’s guide here.
While we cannot control the unpredictability of this weather, thorough planning can place us in a better position. Be empowered with the right information.