Comox Valley hit by record rainfalls

Storm after storm has been pushing the Comox Lake reservoir to its brink.

Storm after storm has been pushing the Comox Lake reservoir to new heights.

About 60 mm fell in the upper watershed on Friday and Saturday. After a bit of a reprieve, the rain started up again Sunday and continued to fall Monday.

“It’s quite a large system and it’s going to stall and hang around the area through Tuesday,” BC Hydro spokesman Stephen Watson said Monday. “It’s dropping quite a bit of rain (100 to 150 mm) on the upper watershed.”

The reservoir hit a high of 135.6 metres on Friday (its highest ever is 136.2 metres). By Monday morning it had dipped to 135.25 metres — slightly below the overflow spillway level of 135.33 metres.

“That’s a bit better than we forecasted and gives us some downstream flood risk management flexibility,” Watson said. “We will continue to operate to the best of our abilities.”

Hydro planned to reduce discharge Monday from the Comox dam to limit the potential for isolated flooding in Courtenay.

“It’s a strong storm that will go into Tuesday, and so the river flow will be very high. Potentially the higher risk for flooding is Tuesday.”

In October, Watson said the Valley had a record 537 mm of rainfall. November has already received 327 mm.

“When this storm is finished, we could be hitting 1,000 mm of rain in just over five weeks,” he added. “Remarkable…Looking ahead, we will be able to reduce discharge from Comox dam for the high tides. With the updated weather forecast and water inflows, the reservoir may not exceed the height hit on Friday.”

BC hydro continues to have close contact with the Comox Valley Emergency Program, the City of Courtenay and other emergency response leaders.

The public is warned to stay away from the Puntledge River and the high water flows.

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