Hope mayor confident community is prepared for next round of heavy rainfall

·2 min read
The District of Hope declared a local state of emergency on Sunday, and schools were closed on Monday in anticipation of the incoming storm. (Carly Thomas/CBC - image credit)
The District of Hope declared a local state of emergency on Sunday, and schools were closed on Monday in anticipation of the incoming storm. (Carly Thomas/CBC - image credit)

The community of Hope, B.C., is preparing for more rain this week, as the third in a series of storms hits the province, bringing heavy rainfall to areas already severely impacted by flooding.

The District of Hope declared a local state of emergency on Sunday, and schools were closed on Monday in anticipation of the incoming storm. About a dozen properties are on evacuation alert as of Monday evening, and one property was ordered to evacuate.

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, predicting 50 to 100 millimetres of rain for the Fraser Valley Tuesday through Wednesday.

Hope is under a flood watch for the lower Fraser River, but a flood warning has been issued for the Coquihalla River about Alexander Creek, just east of Hope.

Mayor Peter Robb said Monday he's confident the community is prepared for the predicted 100 millimetres of rain.

"I believe we're ready," he said.

Crews have spent the past few days clearing ditches of debris and sandbagging areas of concern along the Fraser River, and Robb says district staff are monitoring the situation 24 hours a day.

However confident Robb is, he said some residents are anxious about the storm.

About 252 millimetres of rain fell in Hope within about 48 hours during extreme storms that wreaked havoc on the Fraser Valley two weeks ago. On average, about 344 millimetres of rain falls during the entire month of November.

That heavy rainfall caused landslides and flooding leaving hundreds of travellers stranded in the area.

"They know what damage and how much rain we had on the first wave," Robb said.

"I think there's people who are nervous. But if they stay away from the banks and the riverside to have a look and see and do the basics and let us do our job, I think we'll be fine."

During a news conference on Monday afternoon, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth described the previous rainfall event as "unprecedented," and said advisories and alerts have been issued ahead of this storm.

Robb is advising residents to clear gutters and storm drains near their homes to prevent localized flooding, and prepare for the possibility of an evacuation.

"Make sure you pack a little bag with the prescriptions that you need, some clothing, a bit of food," he said.

"You never know. Things could turn very quickly. We've had some surprises over the past few days on the amount of rain."

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