Evacuation warning as rivers rise near Port Alberni

By The Canadian Press
November 8, 2016 - 11:48am

PORT ALBERNI, B.C. — The Tseshaht First Nation on central Vancouver Island says the Somass River rose rapidly Monday night and continues to swell today, threatening flooding in the community.

Emergency Preparedness Co-ordinator Hugh Braker says residents have been warned to be ready to evacuate their homes.

He says highways crews are posting signs warning of flooding on Highway 4, just west of Port Alberni, as the water has reached the edge of the road.

Braker says travel along the Pacific Rim Highway, the only route to and from Tofino and Ucluelet, could be reduced to single-lane traffic.

The Tseshaht First Nation is operating under a state of emergency as it braces for conditions that could rival flooding that devastated the community and the nearby city of Port Alberni in 2014.

Environment Canada is calling for as much as 60 millimetres of rain over the region, while rain warnings remain posted for north and central Vancouver Island, and wind and rain warnings were in effect for its west coast.

Six families on the Tseshaht First Nation were forced to leave their homes on the weekend as a precaution but were able to return Monday.

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