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Heavy rain forecast for North Coast

VICTORIA – The province is urging people on B.C.’s North Coast to prepare and be diligent as Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued weather alerts for heavy rain, strong winds and freezing temperatures, expected to arrive Saturday, Nov. 20 and last until Tuesday, Nov. 23.

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s weather alerts for heavy rain associated with an atmospheric river cover Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Kitimat and the surrounding communities. The system is expected to reach the South Coast in a weakened state by Monday, Nov. 22, including regions that are vulnerable due to previous flooding.

The River Forecast Centre has issued a flood watch for the North Coast, including Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Hartley Bay, Kemano and surrounding areas.

For up-to-date public weather alerts, visit Environment and Climate Change Canada’s website: https://weather.gc.ca/warnings/index_e.html?prov=bc

There are several steps people living in these regions can take to prepare for the potentially stormy weather ahead:

* Strong winds can down trees (especially those weakened by drought conditions) and power lines.
* Everyone should be mindful of the danger of falling trees.

* During a power outage or other disruption to infrastructure, you may need to cope at home for a prolonged period without access to amenities such as electricity or tap water. To prepare for this, build a household emergency kit with enough non-perishable food, water and supplies that will support your household for a week. Make sure it’s stored in an easily accessible location that everyone knows about.

* Protect your home from potential floods by clearing out your gutters, maintaining perimeter drains, making sure downspouts are far enough away from your residence, and checking nearby storm water drains on your street are free of leaves and blockage. Store valuables and important items or documents in water-tight containers or in higher places, such as on a tall shelf or upper floor.

* Develop an emergency plan. Knowing what to do will reduce anxiety and help keep you focused and safe.

* Know your neighbours that may require extra care and check in on them.

* If your lights go out, check to see whether BC Hydro is already aware of the outage by visiting bchydro.com.
* If your outage isn’t listed, call 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376), or *49376 (*HYDRO) on your mobile phone. You can also log in to your BC Hydro account to report an outage online.

* Torrential rains can cause overland flooding and creeks and rivers to quickly overflow.
* Avoid these water channels because they tend to fill up quickly. Riverbanks that look stable can be eroded beneath the surface, causing unstable ground that could collapse.

* Keep children and pets away from stream banks and watch for changing conditions, particularly if you live in low-lying areas or near waterways.

* Drive carefully and never attempt to drive through floodwater.
* The depth of water is not always obvious. The roadbed may be washed out under the water and sink holes could exist but be unseen.

* Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling, while a foot of water will float many vehicles.

* If a car begins to flood, abandon it quickly and head to higher ground.

* Before heading out, check Drivebc.ca for the latest on road conditions.

* Drivers are reminded that B.C.’s winter tire regulations are in effect. Slow down and watch for icy roads.

* Drive BC alerts have been issued for Highway 16 between Prince Rupert and Smithers, Highway 113 (Nass Valley), Highway 37 and Highway 37A (Stewart area).

* The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has extra crews and equipment on standby, ready to respond as necessary.

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