Home Business & Economy Emergency Management Emergency update Dec 1: Financial relief, weather analysis, supply chain

Emergency update Dec 1: Financial relief, weather analysis, supply chain

Wednesday December 1, 2021 | VICTORIA, BC

by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. | Island Social Trends


The latest Emergency Management update by Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth together with Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Rob Fleming was held at 11:30 am today December 1 [CPAC recording on YouTube].

Their updates have been nearly daily since November 15, as a result of needing to deal with the many impacts of significant rainfall and warmer temperatures delivering rain by way of atmospheric rivers that has resulted in flooding.

Flooding has particularly impacted the key agricultural areas of the mainland in the Fraser Valley and areas along the border with the USA. A river overflowing heavily from the US side added to water level troubles.

Funding relief:

Today the BC Government announced that $5.8 million has been issued by the Canada Red Cross to eligible households that have been impacted by floods and extreme weather in BC. Mostly that’s in the Fraser Valley area and BC Lower Mainland farm and other low-lying areas.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Victoria. He and Premier John Horgan announced a three-for-one donation opportunity with Canada Red Cross (i.e. for every dollar donated, each of the federal and BC governments will also donate a dollar). Farnworth reminded people today, that the donation program runs to December 26, 2021.

Canadians wishing to make a financial donation to the Canadian Red Cross to help those impacted by the floods in British Columbia can do so online (where the minimum suggested donation is $75) at redcross.ca, by calling 1-800-418-1111, or by texting BCFLOODS to 30333. DONATION MATCH: Give today and your gift is worth triple.

Roads and supply chain:

Transportation and Fleming emphasized that people should “drive to conditions” on roads that are impacted by rain and other weather conditions. [Local Traffic | DriveBC]

“Trains operating” is “great news” for supply chains, he said.

Commercial vehicles are getting through the BC interior by driving through Washington State to the south. About 1,200 trucks have taken that route, to help with traffic that would normally travel Highways 3 and 7.

Mental health supports:

People whose personal lives, homes and businesses have been severely impacted by the storms may be experiencing mental and emotional impacts.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth emphasized today that mental health supports are available free online by calling 8-1-1.

Weather context:

The third of a trio of storms (from Saturday November 27 through December 1) is wrapping up today.

The BC Government now seems to rely on Environment Canada forecasts and weather analysis, something it seemed not to do attentively when the high-fatality heat dome was predicted and hit, as predicted, at the end of June this year.

Environment Canada rep Armel Castellan as part of today’s BC Government’s media session said that more precipitation is expected up to 40 mm like Howe Sound, north shore mountains and toward Abbotsford. Beyond Abbotsford, the forecast includes 50 mm for Chilliwack and Hope through this evening. Up to Coquihalla and Boston Bar and Coastal Mts 30 to 40 mm. A cold front is sweeping through.

An atmospheric river brings heat as well as moisture, said Castellan. Many melting temperature records are being broken today (as well as yesterday) “and perhaps recording-breaking for any day in December”. There’s a lot of snow melt, including close to 200 mm on outside west coast of Vancouver Island, over 100 mm in the eastern Fraser Valley, and near Squamish and Howe Sound.

“There will be a really good pulse this evening, before it’s over,” said Castellan. “Then not a lot of rain for Thursday and Friday.” The storm for this coming weekend is only 15 to 25 mm, which Castellan called “not as potent”.

Continued active weather on the south and central coasts. “Follow your forecasts and heed the warnings as we go into continued active weather,” said Castellan.

River Forecast Centre rep Dave Campbell said to expect additional rainfall for Vancouver Island later today. He noted fairly challenging river conditions through the Fraser Valley, with spillover into interior watersheds. Challenging river conditions will be due to more rain in the afternoon today. Flood warnings are in place for the lower mainland and Fraser Valley, and Coquihalla . Flood atches in place for coastal regions including Vancouver Island.

Weather systems analysis:

Farnworth seemed quite excited a few weeks ago that an atmospheric river ranking system would be launched by Environment Canada, based on a system used in the USA.

A ranking system for atmospheric rivers is being worked on with senior scientists, and will take longer to roll out from Environment Canada (Farnworth first said it would be ready in January 2022, based on an article he read in the Times Colonist).