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'Constantly on flood watch' as Port Coquitlam inspects dikes in preparation for next rainstorm

Much of Port Coquitlam is in either the Fraser River or Pitt River flood plain, here's what you need to know to be prepared.

Port Coquitlam trails are drying out, pumps are being activated and the city is inspecting local dikes in preparation for the next rainstorm expected to hit tomorrow, Saturday.

Flood protection is a top priority for the city, according to information provided to the Tri-City News, and the city is providing assistance to flood-ravaged cities in the Fraser Valley.

Two building inspectors trained in rapid damage assessment were sent to the Fraser Valley for three days to assist with inspecting flood-damaged buildings and structures.


Residents expected to do their own flood preparations, find out how here.


According to the city, all Port Coquitlam building officials are certified in rapid damage assessments that determine the safety of buildings and allow people to return home as quickly as possible.

"We’re thankful to have avoided any major flooding so far and are monitoring the situation around the clock so that we can respond quickly and effectively if the situation changes," stated Mayor Brad West in a news release today (Nov. 26).

"We want our community to know that, as a city surrounded by rivers, Port Coquitlam has a well-established plan in place to deal with any emerging flood threats. We’re also happy to lend a hand to support other communities hit hard by the recent flooding."

Typically, flooding is mostly a concern during the spring freshet, however, a high streamflow event on the Coquitlam River caused by a severe storm, such experienced last week, can cause localized flooding.

Meanwhile, some trails were closed during Thursday's (Nov. 25) rain event and pooling water collected in the new underground parking lot at the Port Coquitlam Community Centre.

The Westside Trail including the underpasses below the Lougheed and Kingsway Avenue bridges remains closed for now to allow Coquitlam River water to dissipate.

However, the Traboulay PoCo Trail and the Gates Park parking lots have now re-opened, the city reports on Facebook.

As well, water pooling in the underground parking lot at the Port Coquitlam Community Centre has drained away after the city removed some debris from a drain pipe.

Meanwhile, city workers continue to gear up for another rainstorm forecasted by Environment Canada.

As much as 60 mm of rain is expected to fall in the northeast region, with more rain expected near the mountains.

Most of the heavy rain is expected Saturday night (Nov. 27) and Sunday (Nov. 28), according to the special weather statement issued today.

In a post to Facebook, the city said sandbags will be available to residents and work is ongoing to clear catch basins and prepare pump stations to handle additional inflows.

Here are the city’s plans today:

Pump stations

  • Inspection of storm stations
    • The storm stations continue to run at their lower set points
    • All portable generators are ready to go and are fueled up

Streets

  • Staff are...
    • Checking and cleaning all floodgates at the storm pump stations
    • Checking and removing debris and will continue cleaning all trash grates
  • Sand and sandbags are available at the works yard for PoCo residents with five pallets ready in the yard

Utilities

  • Vacuum trucks are being used to clean out catch basins in low-lying areas trying to maximize the city’s drainage capacity
    • Catch basins are being monitored and cleaned

Residents are encouraged to report any services issues through the PoCo Sort & Report app, at http://ow.ly/g1EG50GXni6, or call 604-927-5311.

CONSTANTLY ON FLOOD WATCH

Much of Port Coquitlam is in either the Fraser River or Pitt River flood plain. The city raised the dikes in the community in 2007. 

“Port Coquitlam is constantly on guard for potential flooding given the nature of our geography,” noted Coun. Darrell Penner, council’s designate for public works matters. “At the same time, it’s important that local homes and businesses do their part to be prepared.”   

Residents and businesses are encouraged to develop their own emergency preparedness plans. 

Flood plain maps and flood preparedness resources are available at portcoquitlam.ca/flood

Information about the city’s free emergency preparedness community courses and resources for residents and businesses can be found at portcoquitlam.ca/ep.

NO RAINFALL RECORDS YET

According to the most recent rainfall records from the Burke Mountain gauge, recent rainstorms have not hit the record set on Jan. 31/Feb. 2020, when rainfall totals hit 143 mm over a 24-hour period:

During the Nov. 14-15, 2021 24-hour period, 125.5 mm of rain fell on the region.

Meanwhile, rainfall totals for the last 24 hours are 46 mm, according to the gauge.

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