Canada: Environment Canada issues weather “red alert” for British Columbia

“The red level is something new that we haven’t released,” Armel Castellan, meteorologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, told CNN’s Canadian subsidiary CTV.

Earlier this month, British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province, experienced catastrophic flooding, forcing evacuations, damaging highways and infrastructure along the Fraser Valley to the US border and disrupting navigation in Vancouver. In the wake of the flood, more abundant rains are expected in the form of three atmospheric rivers in a week.

“We are now in recovery mode and we still have dangerous weather conditions ahead. We had another atmospheric river yesterday,” said Castellan. “What is scheduled for this weekend will be storm number two and again for next week, Tuesday and Wednesday, will be storm number three in a row.”

Castellan noted that storms follow one another with very little time in between.

“So imagine we had an extraordinarily wet fall, the ground is, the landscape is completely saturated. Any extra moisture drains away much easier and faster,” he said.

“We also had snow,” he said. “So at these mid-elevations there’s snow to melt, and that’s precisely what these next storms are going to do. We’re going to add snowmelt to the rainwater and create a lot of runoff. “

Castellan warned that the new weather systems will bring hot air to extremely high altitudes, with heating in the mountains up to 3,000 meters or more.

British Columbia’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is proactively closing sections of highways and asking drivers to avoid non-essential trips before another round of forecasted heavy rains.

“Road infrastructure in these areas is extremely vulnerable as a result of recent storms, and heavier rains in the forecast pose an additional risk,” the ministry said in a statement.

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