A screen grab of what the CVRD’s new storymap tool looks like to users. The goal is to collect data from the recent heavy rains to see the impact of the storm on the region. (Screen grab)

Cowichan Valley Regional District requests rainstorm, flood photos via online tool

Officials want to know more about how that type of event impacted the region as a whole.

An online tool launched by the CVRD aims to help the organization learn more about how the recent foul weather impacted residents of the region.

On Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 a Category 4 atmospheric river took parts of the Cowichan Valley to its knees, after a month of already higher than average precipitation. The rain, together with the snow melt and the already saturated soil, led rivers to swell to once-in-50-years levels and prompted officials to call a local state of emergency.

SEE RELATED: Cowichan’s state of emergency remains as flood damage reckoning begins

Officials want to know more about how that type of event impacted the region as a whole. The tool uses crowd-sourcing, that is the collection of data — in this case photos and stories of the flood’s impact — from a large group, to paint a much larger picture.

“The crowd-sourced information from this storymap is a way for us to ‘ground truth’ existing hazard mapping and can help us identify future areas of concern,” said Kate Miller, the CVRD’s manager of environmental services.

A link to the storymap can found at www.cvrd.bc.ca/hazards. Those using a smartphone can upload pictures by clicking the ‘Share Your Photos’ button on the map.

Once the data has been uploaded the photos are displayed on a map where residents will be able to zoom in on different areas to see how they were affected.

The storymapping project is one of multiple projects the regional district has on the go aimed at improving the regional resiliency to natural disasters such as flooding, landslides, wildfires and more.


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