BC Hydro Public Safety Advisory of Higher River Flows

October 28, 2014

Read BC Hydro's latest Public Safety Advisory of higher river flows. The public should stay out of the river.

From BC Hydro:

"Since BC Hydro’s last update on October 22, we had been following the remnants of Hurricane Ana as it approached the region. BC Hydro was forecasting about 70 mm of rain over 24 hours for this watershed starting last night. The range is 50 mm – 100 mm so similar to the event we had last Tuesday/Wednesday in terms of rainfall. However, the amount of rain fall was nicely spread out over these 24 hours versus having higher intensity rainfall within a shorter time period. The forecasted storm winds came out of the southeast and caused some ocean storm surge up the estuary and Courtenay River.

The high tide this morning was 4.8 m, which was 0.5 m higher than last week’s storm event.

BC Hydro was able to lower the Comox Lake Reservoir by about 1.25 m from last Wednesday through Monday in preparing for this storm and floor risk management operations. The spillway gates at the dam had been wide open other than occasionally backing off for high tides.

The Browns and Tsolum rivers have slowly come up today from the storm and are peaking well after the tide. They also didn’t go as high as last week.

BC Hydro backed off the discharge from Comox Dam down to about 35 m3/s for this morning’s high tide and potential flood risk. We are now back at about 90 m3/s. The reservoir will go up a bit as this storm event ends later today.

Out of interest, the total Courtenay River flow during the 10:15 high tide today was about 240 m3/s, whereas the total river flow last Wednesday during a high tide was near 400 m3/s, yet in both events the potential for localised flooding was only about 30 centimetres away. This speaks to the higher ocean tide and storm surge today.

It also looks wet for the rest of this week with a smaller storm hitting on Thursday.

BC Hydro will continue to discharge high water flows from Comox Dam, at a rate of about 100 m3/s, to control the reservoir level. The public is advised to continue to stay away from the Puntledge River through this week and likely the weekend. The storms look to be relatively small but continuous through next week.

 The Comox Lake Reservoir is currently at 134 m or about 1.3 metres from spilling over the dam."