In anticipation of a significant storm set to hit the Island Monday afternoon, BC Hydro is increasing water flows in the Puntledge River Sunday night, Nov. 15.
“With forecasted moderate to heavy precipitation rates, a higher freezing level, south to southeast winds causing some ocean storm surge, and with an ocean king tide on Tuesday morning, tonight we are proactively increasing the Comox Dam discharge to triple the normal Puntledge River flow to about 90 m3/s,” said BC Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson in a press release sent out Sunday afternoon. “This will allow us to provide flood risk management operations and hold back water during the high tides.”
On Sunday night, after 9 p.m., BC Hydro will slowly increase flows from about 30 m3/s to 90 m3/s, hold the Puntledge River flow at that rate and then monitor downstream river flows and the ocean tides.
“It is likely we may reduce the discharge to as low as 20 m3/s in advance of the Tuesday morning high tide,” said Watson. “Inflows into the Comox Lake Reservoir on the other hand, with the current forecasted, may reach an hourly rate of around 150 m3/s.
“The potential storms direction is the south to southeast and along with the winds, will provide for less rain shadow effect and therefore provide for more low-lying rainfall totals. This may cause the downstream Browns and Tsolum rivers to increase. With the timing of the storm, the river flows may peak near the Tuesday morning high tide.”
According to the press release, the Comox Lake reservoir is currently around 133.5 metres, or in the middle range. It will move lower into Monday and then likely begin to rise Monday night and Tuesday when the storm hits. Water begins to free spill over the dam at 135.33 metres. The level may peak around 134 metres through Tuesday.
BC Hydro will provide an update on Monday afternoon, as the storm approaches and its severity is determined.