British Columbia

Six families forced from home near Port Alberni, flood threats

Heavy rainfall has led to a state of emergency at a First Nation near Port Alberni, B.C., and flood warnings across other parts of Vancouver Island.

Tseshaht First Nation says Highway 4 to Tofino and Ucluelet expected to flood and be impassable Friday night

A state of emergency is in effect for the Tseshaht reserve in anticipation of major flooding. (Dean Stoltz/CHEK News)

Six families were forced out of their homes last night near Port Alberni after the rain-swelled Somass River threatened to flood homes on Vancouver Island B.C.

The rain was not as heavy as predicted, but Environment Canada is forecasting more heavy rain in the next four days.

"Environment Canada is calling it an atmospheric river. Other people online are calling it the pineapple express. I don't really care what people call it we're going to get a heck of a lot of rain," said Hugh Braker, emergency planning coordinator for the Tseshaht First Nation.

Hard rain pelted the community Saturday, but much worse is coming.

  • 150 millimetres of rain are expected in valley.
  • 300 millimetres of rain are expected on the windward side of mountains.

Heavy rainfall and "serious flooding" led to a state of emergency being called by the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, B.C.

That call came Nov. 4 after a myriad of flood warnings across Vancouver Island.

Homes on the reserve were shored up with sandbags and residents moved into hotels overnight.

The River Forecast Centre has issued:

  • A flood warning for Central Vancouver Island, including the Sproat and Somass rivers and surrounding creeks and tributaries near Port Alberni.
  • A flood watch on the Salmon River.
  • A flood watch for East Vancouver Island and the Courtenay 9Puntledge) River has been downgraded.
  • A flood watch for East Vancouver Island including the Browns, Tsolum, and Oyster rivers, and surrounding creeks in the Bowser, Courtenay and Campbell River area.
  • A high streamflow advisory for West Vancouver Island including Tofino Creek and North Vancouver Island including the Zeballos and Gold rivers.

Although rain is the biggest factor in the forecast, gusty winds are expected as well. Winds are expected to approach 80 kilometres per hour. 

With files from Justin McElroy