Prepare Now for Rain

October 24, 2022

With the fall rainy season on its way, the Fraser Valley Regional District is asking residents to be prepared for elevated risks near their homes from local streams, unstable slopes and stressed trees.

Dry soils can increase runoff and river flows, but the ground quickly starts to absorb water again in response to typical fall storms each year. The transition to moderate rainfall patterns does not normally cause extensive flooding. However, people living near streams and rivers that have flooded in previous fall seasons are encouraged to monitor weather and river conditions in their area closely during this transition.

While atmospheric rivers are common during the fall and winter storm seasons, extreme weather similar to mid-November 2021 is rare. However, flooding is a common, naturally occurring event in B.C.

Emergency Management BC asks that residents in affected regions take precautions to ensure personal safety, including developing a household plan, putting together emergency kits, connecting with neighbours and learning about the local government emergency response plan for their area.

As well, you can take the following steps:

Protect your home:

People are advised to prepare for possible flooding of low-lying areas by moving equipment and other assets from these areas to higher ground, where possible. Clear perimeter drains, eavestroughs and gutters. Sandbags also help and can be made available through your local government.

Create grab-and-go bags:

Assemble an individual grab-and-go bag for each member of your household with the essentials they’ll need if you are asked to evacuate.

Recognize the danger signs:

If you live near a waterway, a change in water colour or rapid change in water level – especially a drop – could indicate a problem upstream. Call your local fire, police or public works department immediately if you suspect something is out of the ordinary.

If you face a threatening flood situation, park vehicles away from streams and waterways, move electrical appliances to upper floors and make sure to anchor fuel supplies. Listen to local officials if you are asked to evacuate. In the event of flooding, here are some tips about what to avoid:

Steer clear of river shorelines:

Keep away from river edges and shorelines. During periods of high flow, river banks may be unstable and more prone to sudden collapse. Stay away, and keep young children and pets away from the banks of fast-flowing streams and flooded areas or bridges.

Do not drive through flood water:

Never attempt to drive or walk in flood water. Six inches of fast-moving water can knock over an adult. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including SUVs and pickup trucks.

Landslide risk:

Heavy rain may contribute to landslides and dangerous debris in creeks and waterways. Be safe and don’t go down to watch the rushing water. If you notice trees beginning to lean or bend near your home, or cracks developing in the hillside, consult an engineer or contact local authorities.

There are more details in PreparedBC’s Flood Preparedness Guide. The guide contains useful information that will help people better protect themselves and their homes, and understand what to do if their home or community is at risk of flooding.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food encourages farmers, ranchers and food producers to ensure they have an emergency plan in place, especially for those who face flood-related risks, and they can access planning guidance documents on the ministry’s website.

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