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Coquitlam urges 'extreme' caution for future flooding events after recording 175 mm of rain in two days

As B.C.'s lower mainland copes with the aftermath of a series of floods and mudslides, local residents are encouraged to take all steps need to avoid the impacts.
Coquitlam storm drain overflowing
A number of storm drains were reportedly overflowing in Coquitlam during a massive rainfall on Nov. 15, 2021, including this one on Brunette Avenue.

The storm has weathered and the sun is out.

The aftermath of the 'atmospheric river' that resulted in several floods and mudslides across B.C.'s lower mainland and the Fraser Valley is large pools of water, overflowing rivers and the threat of freezing temperatures expected to settle in.

If there's a bright side, it's that Coquitlam didn't experience any major event that would force evacuations, though localized flooding caused temporary closures to some roads, parks and trails.

According to the Burke Mountain city rain gauge, nearly 175 mm of rain was accumulated in a 37-hour period Sunday and Monday (Nov. 14-15).

City crews were out and about working on overflowing drains and critical catch basins.

The rain tapered off yesterday afternoon around 1 p.m., the gauge's statistics show, and if there is significant damage, it remains unknown as of this publication (Nov. 16).

Regardless, the city is hoping its residents can take extra steps to make sure they're prepared for future major weather phenomenons like flooding and massive rainfall.

On the road, commuters are asked to avoid travel but if it's necessary, use "extreme caution" near flooded areas or neighbourhoods with large pools of water.

"[...] higher than normal water levels present safety risks, so please exercise caution along trails especially at higher elevations and along the Coquitlam River," states Brad Lofgren, Coquitlam public works director, in an earlier release.

"Flooding can occur when runoff from extremely heavy rain exceeds the capacity of the city’s drainage system. Flooding can also happen when drain pipes become blocked by tree roots or debris."

Tips on how Coquitlam residents can prevent future flooding in their homes are as follows:

  • Clear gutters and catch basins
    • Keep the catch basins near your property and gutters on buildings clear of leaves, debris and snow
    • Rake up leaves in the fall to prevent them from plugging drains
  • Clear ditches and culverts
    • If you have an open ditch along your property, check to see that it is clear
    • Common items such as toys, balls, and milk jugs can often get lodged in the culverts and cause water to back up
  • Do not blow leaves from private property onto city streets
    • This can greatly increase flooding risk by blocking catch basins
    • Residents who pay Garbage and Green Waste Utility fees, can put out those fallen leaves and other extra yard trimmings for pick-up on your regular collection day
    • Residents have until Nov. 26, 2021, to use the unlimited yard trimmings collection program
  • Clean foundation drains and sumps
    • These drains collect water from the house and property, and direct it to the city storm sewer
    • The pipes can become blocked by leaves, dirt, roots or debris and should be flushed out periodically, or in some cases replaced
  • Repair broken or damaged pipes:
    • These can cause blockages and flooding of your home
    • Check that your home drainage system is working properly

For more information, you're encouraged to visit the city's website.