A state of emergency has been declared at a First Nation near Port Alberni, and six families have been forced from their homes as heavy rains pound the area.
Flooding began for the Tseshaht First Nation on Thursday, and the emergency decree came yesterday afternoon.
Back in 2014, the same area was badly hit when storms pounded Vancouver Island; that flooding forced the evacuation of 22 homes and shut the highway to Tofino.
At the time, Tseshaht Councillor and Emergency Preparedness coordinator Hugh Braker said it was the worst flooding he’d seen in 25 years.
But it’s looking like this year might give it a run for its money.
“We have four homes which were evacuated last night, six families. Their homes are along the Somass River and they were evacuated to a hotel,” says Braker.
He says even though projected rainfall has gone down from 150 to 120 millimeters this weekend, flood waters continue to threaten homes.
“The water is projected to continue to rise. We’ll see how high it gets up, we have no idea at this present time,” he said.
The River Forecast Centre has issued a flood warning for Central Vancouver Island, including the Sproat and Somass rivers and surrounding creeks near Port Alberni.
Meanwhile, Port Alberni Mayor Mike Ruttan says the city is prepared in case Mother Nature hits hard.
Residents have been sandbagging in preparation for flood waters and Ruttan says crews and residents have been cleaning catch basins.
“Cleaning up the leaves to make sure that nothing is plugged. We’ve switched out water intake from China Creek over to Bainbridge Lake, which we always do in events like this.”
Ruttan says an emergency operation centre is also ready to go if needed.