Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Another 59mm of rain yesterday making for swollen creeks and heavier cascades all around the island. No flooding here that I can see although the ground is saturated and the water is pooling on grass and in meadows.

Elsewhere in the Lower Mainland, a major landslide in North Vancouver swept two houses away and likely took some lives. Hundreds of people have been evacuated from the slopes of Mount Seymour. In some parts of the North Shore, stations recorded up to 300mm of rain in 48 hours. The major problem is that the rain began falling on frozen ground, meaning that the earth couldn't absorb it. Then the temperatures rose dramatically - it's 18 degrees C in Abbotsford right now - meaning that the snowpack couldn't absorb it either. The snow just started to melt. All that water traveling over frost heave makes for a muddy soup on the mountain sides, and slides are inevitable. They are happening all over the Lower Mainland, but so far the only casualities have been in North Vancouver. The rivers are rising too, and there is a risk of some minor flooding, on the scale of a two or five year flood. It's not quite October 2003, but it's not far off.

As I write this morning the rain has resumed pouring after a break for a couple of hours. We expect one more day of rain, perhaps 40mm more and then a break before the rain returns on the weekend.

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