Tri-City residents woke up to thundering rain Monday morning as an atmospheric river swept over the region.
Both Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam have been hard hit by the rain storm, with multiple road closures in the two cities.
A major regional park is also closed, as of 3 p.m. Monday (Nov. 15), and numerous playing fields and trails are shut, as well.
Metro Vancouver Regional Parks announced via Facebook that Minnekhada Regional Park is closed, and numerous trails in Colony Farm Regional Park, are blocked due to flooding.
One of the biggest headaches was the closure of the Mary Hill bypass at the Pitt River Bridge this morning, which prevented commuters from traveling eastbound into Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge via that route.
In videos posted to Facebook, water could be seen cascading over the retaining wall and several cars were stopped.
Other vehicles tried to make it through the flooded road.
However, Coquitlam RCMP arrived on scene at about 10:46 a.m., according to spokesperson Cpl. Paige Armstrong, and traffic was redirected.
Armstrong said accumulations of rainwater were so deep that the road had to be closed and access onto the Pitt River Bridge from the Mary Hill Bypass remains closed for now and alternate routes are recommended. On the Port Coquitlam side, access off the bridge onto to Fremont Street is also closed.
By 5:30 p.m. Monday evening, the road was re-opened according to DriveBC.
COQUITLAM TRAIL AND ROAD CLOSURES
Coquitlam has also closed roads and park trails today, and is encouraging people to stay out of forests during high winds.
In Coquitlam, the following roads are closed:
- North Road (at Jefferson Avenue)
- Cedar Drive
- Como Lake Avenue (eastbound curb lane, west of Mariner Way)
As well, the city is discouraging the use of the 1000-block of Woolridge Street due to high water levels.
As well, the following park trails are currently closed due to flooding or washouts:
- Town Centre Park (Lafarge Lake loop trail)
- Como Lake Park (loop trail)
- Mundy Park
As many as as 50 employees have been working around the clock on the weather event since it started, according to Brad Lofgren, Coquitlam's director of public works.
"These members of our teams are constantly checking and clearing intakes, critical catch basins, responding to service requests, as well as closing off roads and pathways as required to protect the safety of the public," Lofgren stated in an email to the Tri-City News.
The Burke Mountain rain gauge posted over 126 mm of rain in a 24-hour period to noon Monday.
Also in Coquitlam, Seguin Drive at Schoolhouse Street, next to Canadian Superstore, was blocked due to flooding.
Earlier today, crews were on the scene with a pump truck and a worker said a sump pump had overflowed.
"We do have some surcharged sewers in the city, most of them at lower elevations," Lofgren reported.
PORT COQUITLAM ROAD AND TRAIL CLOSURES
Due to extreme wet weather, the following closures are in effect in PoCo:
- Bedford Street (Kingsway to Chine)
- All sports fields
- Traboulay PoCo Trail (dog park to Patricia footbridge)
- North side parking lot entrance of Gates Park (by the tennis courts)
- Barricades are up under the bridge underpasses at Kingsway and Lougheed of the Traboulay trail and the west side
According to posts on the Facebook community page, at least one yard and one house is flooded.
As well, video shot from the Gately Avenue in PoCo show the Coquitlam River flooding its banks and submerging the Traboulay PoCo Trail.
PORT COQUITLAM MAKES SANDBAGS AVAILABLE TO FLOODED RESIDENTS
Port Coquitlam crews are making sandbags available for citizens in case of flooding, according to the city's mayor.
In a social media post, Mayor Brad West stated the following:
"We are experiencing localized flooding at various areas due to the heavy volume of rain. Staff are cleaning catch basins and monitoring storm manholes to ensure our system is operating at maximum efficiency."
He said sandbags were being filled as a precautionary measure, and backup pumps were deployed at Maple Creek and Cedar Creel for additional capacity.
"We will be making sand and sandbags available for residents. Residents can pick the bags up at the entrance of our Works Yard (1737 Broadway)," he further stated.
Those experiencing difficulties are asked to make a report via the city’s sort & report app, at portcoquitlam.ca/report or by calling Public Works at 604-927-5496.
BC HYDRO ISSUES FLOOD ALERT FOR THE COQUITLAM RIVER
Wild weather started with a weather alert for the northeast of Metro Vancouver, including Coquitlam and Maple Ridge, with total rainfall near 140 to 180 mm expected by the afternoon of Monday (Nov. 15).
"A significant atmospheric river event continues to bring copious amounts of rain to the B.C. south coast today. Heavy rain will continue this morning and ease this afternoon as the system moves inland," Environment Canada reported.
The alert further states that this long episode of heavy rain could result in possible washouts, debris flow and pooling water.
Although there were no power outages in the Tri-Cities, there were reports of some phones not working properly due to lines down from a mudslide.
And at 7:37 a.m., BC Hydro issued a flood alert for the Coquitlam River, which is still in effect as of Monday afternoon.
"Total BC Hydro spill and natural inflows downstream of the Coquitlam Dam have exceeded 140 cubic metres per second at the “Water Survey of Canada Coquitlam River, at Port Coquitlam” gauge," the alert stated.
BC Hydro warned that water levels may rise enough to cause the river to overflow its banks and flood the surrounding land.
"Residents and visitors are reminded to be cautious around the edges of the Coquitlam River during these high flow periods and to be mindful of water safety."
SCHOOLS REMAINED OPEN
Schools stayed open and transit was in operation.
However, the elevator at the Inlet Centre SkyTrain Station in Port Moody from the east entrance to the Lafarge Lake-Douglas bound platform is temporarily out of service from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. due to maintenance.
School District 43 spokesperson Ken Hoff told the Tri-City News that all schools are "open and operational," despite pooling water on some roads.
In Port Coquitlam on Sunday, works crews barricaded some trails in areas where water had accumulated.
In Port Moody, creek flows at Mossom Creek were high due to the weather event.
In Coquitlam, there are reports of paths blocked due to water around Lafarge Lake in Town Centre Park.
In Port Coquitlam, the field at Cedar Drive Elementary school is flooded, according to a Facebook post.
The storm also caught the Coquitlam Express junior hockey team, which is hunkering down in Kamloops for a second straight night after its return to the Lower Mainland from a road trip to Merritt and Prince George was derailed by highway closures.
General manager Tali Campbell said the team's bus tried to disembark from Kamloops this morning after an overnight stop enroute from Prince George but was turned around because mudslides had washed over all overland routes connecting the Interior to the Lower Mainland.