Thursday, May 28, 2009

Terrace eyes its weather forecast with a sense of foreboding

While many in the Northwest have been bemoaning the cool temperatures and frequent precipitation of the last few weeks, next weeks forecast for sun and hot temperatures is not being overwhelmingly welcomed to the east of Prince Rupert.

The Terrace Fire Chief, Peter Weeber has offered up a warning to residents that the time is at hand to begin preparations for potential flooding along the Skeena River, showing a concern over the potential events of the coming week and an eerie resemblance to the situation of two years ago.

It was the first week of June 2007 that saw a sudden heat wave send the record snow pack of the Coast mountains down into the Skeena watershed, laying waste to highway and rail connections between Terrace and Smithers to the east and Prince Rupert to the west.

Vast areas of the city of Terrace that year were under water, as the historic flood plains of the city overflowed their banks, a scenario that Fire Chief Peter Weeber fears could be reprised in the next week or so.

Those flood conditions in Terrace had repercussions in Prince Rupert as well, with the highway closed for a number of days and rail access shut down, local stores quickly ran short of staples such as milk and bread as locals began to stock up for what they feared would be a long siege.

Likewise, gas stations suddenly found large line ups forming as Rupertites filled up their tanks, a situation that puzzled many as with the highway closed one wondered where it was everyone might be driving to.
The situation deteriorated so bad in the city, that then Mayor Herb Pond had to intervene with a public plea for a little common sense and asked for a bit more community spirit to take over where the cabin fever mentality had set in.

Hopefully, the Northwest has learned from the drama of two years ago and will be better prepared should disaster strike and history repeats.
Chief Weeber offered up his thoughts to the Terrace Standard, providing some suggestions as to the steps that Terrace residents should be taking now, just in case nature offers up a few unwanted twists in June.
Terrace Daily Online-- Entering Flood Risk Season

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