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Parts of Vancouver Island brace for heavy rain

Emergency crews say they’ve done all they can to prepare, as the southwestern part of B.C. braces for another “atmospheric river” of rainfall today (Tuesday) and tomorrow.

On Vancouver Island, Environment Canada now says up to 150 mm of rain will drench both the north and west regions of the island, especially north of Tofino including Zeballos and Tahsis.

Water levels have been rising across the region since the series of storms hit more than a week ago, and forecasters note this particular weather system could be the most powerful of the lot.

“Heavy rain will persist through Wednesday,” Environment Canada says, as it warns of localized flooding in low-lying areas paired with increased runoff due to snowmelt.

In a statement last week, Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations in Port Hardy urged locals to plan accordingly, in case the power goes out or flooding arises.

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But the warnings extend beyond, as the BC River Forecast Centre issues flood watches for all regions of Vancouver Island.

In anticipation, Mainroad says its crews will be patrolling on all service area highways for water pooling until the event passes, roadways are clear and things are back to normal.

Across B.C., more highways have been closed due to the threat of high water, with several evacuation orders now expanded.

The provincial government has also extended its state of emergency until Dec. 14. This means a 30-litre limit will remain in place at gas stations, including here on the island, to ensure there’s enough fuel for essential and emergency vehicles.

“The fuel conservation measures are working, and I want to thank British Columbians for their patience,” adds Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth. “But we need to stay the course for another two weeks until we have the Trans Mountain pipeline back online.”

READ MORE: Fuel still limited as provincial state of emergency continues

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