(Victoria) The British Columbia Department of Transportation closed several highways Saturday in preparation for the next storm in southern British Columbia.
The closure points are between the interior and the continental depression, an area already hit by severe flooding where only essential traffic is allowed. Authorities are rushing to repair damaged infrastructure and deal with fuel shortages caused by the disaster.
Interstate 3 from Hope to Princeton, Interstate 99 from Pemberton to Lillooet, Highway 1 in Fraser Canyon and Hope to Popkum will be closed to traffic.
“The highway infrastructure in these areas is very weak in the wake of the recent storm. Expectations of heavy rainfall add more danger,” the ministry said in a statement.
The duration of these closures will depend on the weather. The situation will be reassessed on Sunday morning.
Heavy rain fell on the lowlands of the mainland, the central coast, and parts of Vancouver Island. Another rainstorm loomed.
Environment Canada warned that up to 120mm of rain could hit mountainous areas like Squamish Whistler on Sunday afternoon. It may also rain in other areas that have experienced severe flooding recently.
The agency has issued a weather alert for Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, the Sunshine Coast and parts of Vancouver Island.
The rain is expected to increase in intensity next night before receding on Sunday afternoon, but the rains will resume early next week.
The county waterway monitoring center has updated its warning for Vancouver Island. Some streams may emerge from their beds and flood nearby areas.
Some areas south of the Campbell and Gold Rivers are also being monitored as heavy rains are expected in the Port Renfrew area.
Other meandering rivers are also spotted on Vancouver Island, including the Cowichan and Englishman Rivers.
The monitoring center warned that “the residents are advised to stay away from torrential rains and potentially unstable coasts during this period of high flow.”
The closure of Highway 1 between Popkum and Hope is necessary to allow BC Hydro to partially target the Lake Jones Reservoir to protect it. The company works with the ministry to monitor the site. Teams are ready to respond across the county in the event of a power outage.
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