A flooding Ryan Road was slowing traffic Thursday where it intersects with the Old Island Highway. Nearby

Reservoir overflowing, a lot more rain on the way

Dam now at 135.6 metres, about 30 cm above the overflow spillway

  • Nov. 4, 2016 5:00 a.m.

Scott Stanfield

Record staff

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

The next storm is expected to hit the Comox Valley tonight and all day Saturday, with rainfall possibly exceeding 100 mm, says BC Hydro. Then a larger storm is expected from Sunday night to Tuesday, possibly bringing another 150 mm.

Which could push the Comox dam over the top.

To date, it’s highest level has been 136.2 metres, Hydro spokesman Stephen Watson said. Friday afternoon, the level was at 135.6.

“It’s already come up two metres,” he said. “If it hits 136.5 metres, that’s when we have lost all food risk-management capabilities. We’re potentially in a place we’ve never been. That’s because of one significant storm after another for weeks.”

In the past, the Valley has received two or three intense storms in a week. The difference this time has been significant storms three weeks in a row.

“We’ve (previously) had a bit of time between storms to lower the reservoir, but we just don’t have that ability this time,” Watson said. “The reservoir’s come up two metres in response to this last storm as we’ve tried to hold some water back at key times. We’re at the point now that our ability to hold back water is diminished.”

Lewis Lake by CVRecord on Scribd

 

BC Hydro will hold back a bit of water Saturday at high tide.

“But not as much as we usually do because we just don’t have that luxury.”

Expect a bit of reprieve Sunday until the worst hits that night and Monday.

“The jet stream is literally going right over the mid-island,” Watson said. “It’s like a freight train — it’s just one storm after another.”

In October, the Valley had a record 537 mm of rainfall. There has been a further 260 mm in the first few days of November.

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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