The District of Sooke is planning and preparing for a looming atmospheric river expected to impact the region this week.
Atmospheric rivers bring with them heavy rains which can lead to flash flooding and high river flows with stronger than normal currents.
This is what caused mass infrastructure failures across BC in the fall of 2021. During those events, a stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway was heavily damaged due to floods on the Malahat.
Because an atmospheric river is expected to impact the Sooke region, residents are being advised to avoid rivers and potentially unstable banks near the water’s edge.
To best prepare for the event, a sandbag station has been opened in town which will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 752 West Coast Road.
These sandbags can be used to create barriers and help direct waterflow to avoid flooding.
The sandbag station will be self-serve and all materials — sand and bags — are being provided by the Province. Residents are being asked to bring their own shovels and only take what they need.
- Vancouver Island braces for impact of heavy rain and wind today
- Elevated ocean tides may cause minor shoreline flooding on Saanich Peninsula this weekend
In addition to people preparing their own homes, the District is asking residents to keep Sooke’s infrastructure in mind as they weather this storm.
Specifically, the ‘catch basins’ or street gutter drains can get clogged up with leaves and debris in rain storms during autumn. The District is asking residents to clear these clogged drains if they come across one.
“Sweeping the leaves with your foot to allow water to enter the stormwater management system is a small preventative action we can take as a community,” says Emergency Program Manager Jason Humphries.
“A critical aspect of emergency planning and preparedness is how a community comes together to support each other before, during and after events. With nearly 700 basins in Sooke, this simple act really helps everyone out.”
More emergency preparedness information can be found online, here.