A week after flooding hit B.C., federal ministers provide update as severe weather looms

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Federal ministers of emergency preparedness, national defence, transport, employment and environment are providing an update on the state of emergency in British Columbia at 1 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET). You can watch live in our player above.

The province is asking people in various areas to prepare for severe weather Sunday as residents in other parts of B.C. continue to deal with the ravages of flooding and mudslides. 

Rain, wind and snowfall warnings are in effect for Haida Gwaii and B.C.’s central and north coast as another atmospheric river moves over the region.

Kitimat could receive up to 80 millimetres of rain, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada. Prince Rupert could see up to 150 millimetres of rain.

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Stewart, about 350 kilometres north of Kitimat, has already received 20 centimetres of snow, with more expected Sunday. 

Winds gusting up to 110 km/h are predicted to hit Haida Gwaii Sunday evening and persist into Monday night.

Environment Canada says flooding and landslides could occur in northern B.C. as a result of the heavy rain.

Other areas of the province were severely affected by extreme weather last week that damaged highways, destroyed homes and left several people dead.

Wet snow is in the forecast for Merritt, which was evacuated last week when floodwaters damaged the wastewater treatment facility.

Those working to recover and prevent further damage in Fraser Valley communities such as Abbotsford and Chilliwack can expect clear skies Sunday, but starting Monday, more rainfall is expected and could last all week.

The government is urging B.C.’s north coast to prepare for extreme weather Sunday, exactly a week after flooding devastated parts of the province. (Christian Amundson/CBC)

On Saturday, Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said he was watching weather predictions closely, worried the system will ramp up Wednesday.

“If there’s 100 millimetres of rain, if it comes in 24 hours, that’s a problem,” he said.

“If it comes in three or four days, maybe we’ll be okay.”

According to a tweet from the City of Chilliwack, repairs to the Sumas dike have been completed. 

Braun said Friday that ultimately, the entire dam may have to be rebuilt to a higher standard to protect the Sumas Prairie, a major farming area that suffered extensive flooding as water gushed in from the Nooksack River from neighbouring Washington state.

Braun is expected to provide an update at 2 p.m. PT.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen said assessment teams are visiting properties in the region, including in Princeton, distributing re-entry kits to homes impacted by flooding. The district said it is working to dispatch electrical, gas and restoration services to those areas. 

A landslide blocks a road during flooding in Abbotsford, B.C., on Nov. 15. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

PM holding special meeting about B.C.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has scheduled a meeting Sunday for 1 p.m. ET to discuss the situation in B.C. 

On Wednesday, he pledged to support the province as it works to rebuild, and said he would send members of the Canadian Armed Forces to assist. The first contingent of nine military officers arrived Thursday and more have arrived in the days since. 

Opposition Leader Erin O’Toole sent a letter to Trudeau on Sunday requesting an emergency debate as soon as possible to discuss the situation in B.C.

He also requested that Conservative MPs have access to the same briefings the federal government is sharing with the province to ensure all leaders are on the same page.

Provincial Agriculture Minister Lana Popham is calling for financial assistance from Ottawa for what she expects will be an “extensive,” “unprecedented” rebuild. 

“Right now we’re kind of still dealing with the ongoing emergency but we will kick into assessment mode as soon as we can catch our breath,” she told CBC’s Rosemary Barton.

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