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Richmond, Metro Vancouver placed under flood watch

Be careful near rivers and other areas near the shoreline.
Heavy rainfall may cause localized flooding and potentially strong river flows.

Lower Mainland areas including Richmond are currently placed under flood watch as an atmospheric river approaches the area.

The City of Richmond is asking community members to be careful near shorelines and riverbanks and beware of potentially strong river flows as the region braces for heavy rain.

Catch basins and drainage grates should also be cleared of leaves and debris.

In addition, the Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness is also advising the public to prepare for possible flooding in their homes, create grab-and-go bags with essentials and pay attention to danger signs.

In case of a "threatening flood situation," the public should park vehicles away from streams and waterways, move their electrical appliances to upper floors and anchor their fuel supplies, as well as listen to local officials if asked to evacuate.

Some tips for safe driving from the ministry include:

  • Plan ahead and research current road conditions and check the weather forecast before leaving. Motorists may want to consider postponing travel.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that doesn't restrict movement while driving but make sure to bring warm clothing, including winter boots, coats, gloves and hats, in case you have to get out of the car.
  • Have an emergency plan such as making sure the vehicles have a full tank of fuel and are stocked with emergency supplies including a windshield scraper and snow brush, food and water and a first-aid kit.
  • If you get stuck or stranded, don't panic and stay with your car for safety and warmth.
  • Call for roadside assistance if you have a phone and call 911 in case of emergencies.

Advisory upgraded to flood watch

The B.C. South Coast, Lower Mainland and Lower Fraser Valley were originally issued high streamflow advisories on Saturday, Dec. 2.

However, the B.C. River Forecast Centre issued an update on Monday morning and upgraded the advisory to flood watch.

A rainfall warning has also been issued for the region as Environment Canada expects 50 to 70 millimetres of rain throughout today, easing tomorrow morning.

"Very heavy rainfall and rain on snow at higher elevations will increase the risk of flooding and landslides," reads the warning.

Apart from being careful near rivers, creeks and culverts, Environment Canada asks community members to beware of flash floods, water pooling on roads and localized flooding in low-lying areas.

The Richmond News reported yesterday that the dyke system experienced higher than usual water levels due to a combination of low barometric pressure with a period of high astronomical tide.

According to Environment Canada, elevated water levels are expected to continue during high tide until tomorrow.

Clay Adams, City of Richmond spokesperson, told the News the city is not anticipating issues thanks to ongoing flood protection strategies.

However, Richmondites and their pets should still "stay clear of the water," he said.

"This is definitely not the time to go swimming, kayaking or playing fetch with your dog in the river or at the park beach!"

For more tips on how to prepare for heavy rain, check out the City of Richmond's weather response resources.

To get updated information on evacuation alerts and orders, follow @emergencyinfoBC on social media platform X or visit the website. Updated forecasts and alerts are available on Environment Canada's website, and road condition updates are provided by DriveBC.

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