The Cowichan Valley Regional District declared a state of local emergency after widespread flooding forced evacuations and cuts off key transportation corridors in the area.
Flooding closed Highway 1 north of Duncan from Mays Road to Mt. Sicker Road, limiting access to the communities of Crofton and Chemainus.
DriveBC announced the closure early Saturday after the area was on flood watch issued late Friday by the River Forecast Centre.
Flooding has also closed Westholme Road and Chemainus Road, and there is currently no alternative route for north and south bound traffic.
Significant flooding is also occurring on Tzouhalem Road at the corner of Lakes Road. North Cowichan staff are currently installing a flood wall at the bottom of the Lakes Road hill.
Flood watches – where rivers are expected to exceed their banks – were issued for west and south Vancouver Island. A high streamflow advisory – where river levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly – was issued for the east Island. expected.
An “atmospheric river” brought heavy rains with a station at Effingham Inlet, off the west coast, recording nearly 300mm of rain on Friday.
By Friday evening, Chemainus River was above a 5-year flow and still rising as was Cowichan River.
Around 10 p.m. flooding in areas of Crofton resulted in the evacuation of about 23 people. A BC Transit bus was used to bring 18 residents to the Duncan area to stay with friends and family, and the rest were accommodated in Crofton. According to the Cowichan Valley Regional District, evacuations continued into the early morning and at 3 a.m. the Cowichan Community Centre opened as a group lodging and reception centre for about 28 evacuated residents from North Cowichan and the Halalt First Nation.
Rivers were expected to peak early Saturday morning as the rainfall ends.
The CVRD is expected to provide a situational update at 9 a.m.