The BC River forecast center upgraded the Somass River’s status to flood warning yesterday after recent heavy rains continue to cause the river to swell.
As a result, the Tseshaht First Nation declared a state of emergency, and evacuated 5 homes and gave warnings to a further 18 homes in danger of flooding.
Tseshaht emergency operations coordinator Hugh Braker said flooding is happening on an annual basis now, and something needs to be done.
Braker says Tseshaht is spending upwards of $80,000 each year responding to floods, and have asked the feds for $20,000 for a flood mitigation study, but have not heard anything back from Ottawa.
Forecasters expect all the waterways will peak today, and local fire chiefs met yesterday to discuss contingency plans if Highway 4 at Watty’s Hill floods.
The Alberni Valley Regional Airport is closed after heavy rainfall caused flooding at the intersection of one of the taxiways and the runway.
Braker said the Sproat River is expected to crest this afternoon, and could hit flood levels again throughout this week.
Environment Canada is calling for another 10 millimeters of rain today in the region and as much as 40 millimeters tomorrow — and that’s on top of a series of storms that deluged the Valley last week and over the weekend.
The flood warning covers the Somass River, Sproat and Ash rivers, as well as their tributaries.