(File photo)

Winter rain has come quickly and hard.

Vancouver Island will continue to see heavy rainfall this morning. By the afternoon, heavy wind gusts are expected.

Residents can expect up to 180 millimetres of rain in some areas, including the Greater Victoria area, as flood warnings and advisories are in effect near major rivers.

Environment Canada extended the rainfall warnings early Monday for all areas of the island except the far north, saying water pooling and flash flooding was possible.

Drivers should proceed cautiously as conditions on major highways are being impacted by water pooling and flash flooding.

Early Monday morning saw the Trans-Canada Highway flooded at Drinkwater Road in Duncan.

Portions of BC Highway 1 at Malahat Drive are closed in both directions at Finlayson Arm Road due to flooding. There is no estimated time of reopening. Emergency crews are on scene.

Highway 14 leading to Sooke has also been closed in both directions with flooding at Impala Road at Metchosin. A detour is available.

Minister of Public Safety and BC’s Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth, said that most roads across the province will not be open until the rain slows down. The roads will be assessed later today, but some could be closed for much longer.

Minister of Transportation, Janelle Staite, said that roads are unpredictable, suggesting British Columbians avoid travel.

The BC River Forecast Centre issued flood warnings for the Cowichan River near Duncan and the Koksilah River at Cowichan Station.

Over 1100 BC Hydro customers near Sidney and Duncan are experiencing power outages; meanwhile, a tree down on Saturna Island has caused over 200 people to also experience power outages.

Environment Canada says the heavy rainfall is expected to taper off by noon, but by then strong winds that may cause damage are expected to occur.

West winds gusting between 70 km/h to 90 km/h are expected late this morning through this afternoon in Greater Victoria.

Environment Canada warns that high winds may cause tree limbs to break and more power outages to occur.

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