VICTORIA — The agency that monitors British Columbia’s waterways is warning of “minor to significant flooding” on B.C.’s Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island as warming temperatures and persistent rain melt heavy snow.

The River Forecast Centre says in a high streamflow advisory that a significant weather pattern change will occur this week and cause rapid rises in creeks and rivers, especially at low and mid-elevation watersheds on the coast.

Rivers are expected to begin rising Tuesday and likely peak Wednesday or Thursday, however the storms are still several days away so the exact location and intensity of the heaviest rainfall is still uncertain.

It says areas that experienced flooding last year may be more vulnerable, due to erosion and other conditions.

However it also says it will be warmer than November’s destructive atmospheric river events and the storm system will likely add to already well-developed snowpack at higher elevations.

Although the advisory warns that flooding could be significant, the forecasting centre also defines a high streamflow advisory as one in which “no major flooding is expected.”

“The public is advised to stay clear of the fast‐flowing rivers and potentially unstable riverbanks during the high‐streamflow period,” it says.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 9, 2021.

The Canadian Press