BC Hydro advises to stay away from the Puntledge River through Tuesday night. Temporary danger signage will be placed along the river today. Scott Stanfield photo

BC Hydro advises to stay away from the Puntledge River through Tuesday night. Temporary danger signage will be placed along the river today. Scott Stanfield photo

High Puntledge River flows expected Friday night in Courtenay

BC Hydro is following a storm system that is hitting the watershed today (Friday) and tomorrow with some significant rains and higher freezing levels causing some snowmelt. Precipitation over these two days may be about 90 mm in the upper watershed.

Tonight, water discharge from Comox Dam will increase from about 40 cubic metres per second (m3/s) to about 110 m3/s. This flow rate may be in place through Tuesday night. With the forecasted storm, river flows will also be going up and down over the weekend as operations are adjusted in coordination with the high ocean tides, known as King Tides.

“We are providing a public safety advisory to please stay away from the Puntledge River through Tuesday night. Temporary danger signage will be placed along the river today,” a statement said.

The Comox Lake Reservoir is currently at about 133.7 metres, and is well positioned for this time of year and the storm activity. Water inflows into the reservoir over the next few days may have an hourly peak of about 200 m3/s.

“We expect the reservoir level to get to about 134.4 metres by Sunday and then trend downward. Water free spills over the spillway section of the Comox Dam at 135.33 metres.”

Some of this highest oceans tides of the year were Wednesday to Friday this week, with the daily high tides slowly lowering this weekend and into next week. Hydro will also be closely watching how the Browns and Tsolum rivers react to the storm.

There is a potential forecasted storm on Monday and then after that, the weather forecast looks fairly dry. We anticipate Puntledge River flows being back in the normal range by Wednesday morning.

If there is a change in the weather forecast, Hydro may modify operations accordingly. A community update will be provided if there is a significant change in operations.