Updated: BC Hydro Issues Public Safety Advisory for Puntledge River

October 22, 2014

BC Hydro has issued an updated Public Safety Advisory of higher river flows. The public should stay out of the Puntledge River through Sunday.

From BC Hydro:

October 22, 2014 

"The Puntledge River watershed got hit hard last night by the heavy rains. Inflows into the Comox Lake Reservoir exceeded the forecast. To see the watershed conditions that took place at this time of the year was surprising.

Since 7:00 pm last night the Comox Lake Reservoir has risen about 60 centimeters. It is currently at 134.75 m and rising. Water free spills over the dam at 135.3 m.

The precipitation levels in the upper watershed hit about 95 mm over the past 24 hours. The peak hourly inflow into the reservoir was about 600 m3/s. The Browns River that feeds into the Puntledge hit a high of about 275 m3/s.

For flood risk downstream three favourable things happened: a lower high tide (4.3 m at 5:42 am); the Tsolum and Browns flows peaked at different times, and there was no snow melt given the absence of snow in the mountains. The Tsolum was peaking at 203 m3/s at 8:00 am whereas the Browns peaked at about 2:00 am. It was perhaps 25 centimeters away from isolated downstream flooding during the high tide. Flooding can begin near the 5th Street Bridge at about 400 m3/s with a high tide. 

BC Hydro is losing operational flexibility in holding water back for flood risk management and the reservoir is well into our flood buffer zone - we need to move water out and also in consideration for future storms.

BC Hydro had been spilling up to 100 m3/s of water downstream of Comox Dam. This morning and though the rest of the week, discharges from the dam will range from about 200 m3/s to 50 m3/s through Sunday. This will be done to try to control the reservoir level and consider downstream flood risk.

The weather forecast this week looks to see a modest storm tonight and then a potential storm on Saturday.

BC Hydro advises the public to stay away from the Puntledge River through Sunday."