The city of West Vancouver has been hit hard by flooding this week. A king tide brought the ocean higher than usual, and strong winds whipped up huge waves.
Photos of the flooding have been shared online, showing how wild the water got. Environment Canada warns that more rain could still be expected.
Tide tables can be an important tool for flood-prone areas in identifying potential high-tide flood events. However, they are not always accurate in forecasting flooding due to the complex interplay of astronomical alignments, weather patterns, ocean circulation and climate change processes.
Typically, tides rise and fall based on the astronomical positioning of the Moon in relation to Earth. These astronomical alignments, called perigean spring tides, occur about twice per year when the Sun and the Moon’s gravitational forces reinforce each other.
In some instances, these astronomical alignments can cause water levels to rise much higher than normal, which can lead to flooding and damage when the tides combine with a storm surge. For example, in November 2012, the City of Vancouver experienced a king tide and a storm surge that caused flooding and damage to a variety of infrastructures along the coast.
When a storm causes a king tide, the combined effects can make coastal sea levels rise up to five metres above government benchmarks, potentially causing more flooding than would occur with a normal high tide. It’s a rare occurrence, but it can cause a lot of damage to sensitive ecosystems and other coastal structures, says Angela Danyluk, a senior sustainability specialist with the City of Vancouver.
For now, though, the impact of king tides on West Vancouver is limited to minor flooding on low-lying parts of the city. But that’s likely to change in the years ahead, she warns, as climate change exacerbates sea level rise.
During king tides, the water can push into low-lying beaches like Jericho and Locarno. It also can cause roads to flood in areas near the beach, as the seawater reaches up through drainage systems and into stormwater ponds and other low-lying areas.
As a result, Metro Vancouver is warning residents that they may be at increased risk of flooding on Tuesday. That’s why the city has closed parts of the Stanley Park seawall from Lions Gate Bridge to English Bay and in front of Kits Pool. The city has installed signs in affected areas, and crews are on standby to respond to any flooding.
As a result of flooding caused by the combination of a storm surge and a king tide on Friday, Seawalks and parks in West Vancouver were closed. It was one of the worst events the District has experienced in decades, according to a statement from the District of West Vancouver.
The Centennial Seawalk and other areas of waterfront in the city were flooded on Friday, with crews working hard to clean up the debris and assess the damage. The area between 19th Street and 25th Street was especially affected, as the storm surge pushed water over the path and fencing in that section of the seawall.
In West Vancouver, crews were also working to clean up the area along the Jericho Beach pier. The pier is still closed, and there are no plans for it to reopen until the area has been thoroughly assessed.
Powers said a number of giant logs were washed up on the beach, as well as rocks and sand debris. Some smashed into park benches, she said.
Several sandbags had to be deployed in Ambleside Park, she added. The dog park and the playground at John Lawson Park were also flooded.
The district is urging people to avoid the area as much as possible and to obey signs. Staff will monitor the area and will post updates on their website and Twitter.
A king tide came to Vancouver Friday morning and flooded the Stanley Park Seawall from Sunset Beach to Lions Gate Bridge, as well as several other sections of the seawall around the city. In West Vancouver, the Ambleside Park, Dundarave Pier and a section of the Seawalk from 19th Street to Dundarave were also damaged by the storm.
At the same time, a storm caused massive waves to crash into English Bay in North Vancouver. Some residents described their parks and parking lots as resembling lakes.
As a result of the storm, BC Ferries had to cancel multiple sailings between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay. You can find an updated list of ferry delays and cancellations here.
It was the biggest storm to hit West Vancouver in years, with high winds and a king tide that swamped much of the city’s waterfront. The city issued a flood warning, urging people to stay off the water and to prepare for possible evacuations if needed.
Ambleside Park Closures
Located on the North Shore, Ambleside Park is a 24 hectare public park that offers a variety of recreational facilities and activities. It is a popular spot for locals and visitors and offers spectacular views of English Bay and Stanley Park.
The park is a great place for families to spend the day, and you can easily get there by car or public transport. There is an outdoor pool, tennis courts, a skateboard park, volleyball nets on the beach in the summer, outdoor showers and a dog-friendly area.
Ambleside Park is a fantastic place to go for a walk and see the stunning views of English Bay, Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver. You can also enjoy a picnic and relax in the park.
There are several walking and cycling trails in Ambleside Park that take you along the seawall. There are also a few smaller trails that are ideal for exploring the park.
In the summer, there are lifeguards on the beach at Ambleside Park to make sure that the water is safe for swimmers. There is a concession stand on site for you to buy snacks while you’re out on the beach.
You can also visit the duck pond in the park, which is the only known nesting site for the Green Heron on the North Shore. If you are lucky, you might even spot a heron.
The Seawalk in Ambleside Park is a great place to explore and you can stroll along the beautiful water and see the stunning views of the Lions Gate Bridge and Stanley Park. It is a great place to see the sunset during the winter months as well.
As you can imagine, flooding can be a problem for the residents of West Vancouver. This is why it is important to follow the signs and keep a close eye on the weather.
There were heavy rains and high tides in the District of West Vancouver on Tuesday, which caused flooding in Ambleside Park and the Seawalk. Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for Metro Vancouver including the North Shore on Tuesday, which stated that flooding conditions and related closures could last into Wednesday.
Flood Warnings are issued by Environment Canada when a storm is forecast to bring heavy rain or snowmelt that could lead to flooding. They can also be issued by the River Forecast Centre when rivers are expected to rise above certain levels, usually due to rain or melting snow.
The River Forecast Centre warns that some West Vancouver residents may be affected by flooding. The city is urging people to prepare for possible flooding by moving vehicles, assets and other possessions to higher ground before the weather turns bad. They should also make a grab-and-go bag of essentials for each member of their household in case they are forced to evacuate.
A king tide is predicted to peak at 9:00 am PT Tuesday and could cause localized coastal flooding, particularly in the Chemainus, Courtenay and Englishman rivers and surrounding tributaries. The River Forecast Centre is also advising people to prepare for potential flooding in lower-lying areas along the coast, including the Stanley Park seawall from Lions Gate Bridge to English Bay and in front of Kits Pool.
It’s also important to remember that it’s not always safe to drive in heavy rain. Roads can become flooded or blocked, and cars can be swept away or damaged by flooding.
During a flood, the water could be deeper or stronger than it appears and could contain debris, sharp or dangerous objects, potholes, electrical wires and other hazards. If you encounter a flooded road, slow down and avoid driving until the rain has stopped or the river levels have slowed down.
The region is bracing for a third round of heavy rainfall as an atmospheric river heads into British Columbia in the next few days. The atmospheric river system is expected to slither into the province Wednesday night, channelling its way through much of the northern and central regions. The heaviest precipitation is expected to fall in the Okanagan Valley, Elk Valley and parts of the Kootenays.
The River Forecast Centre is warning that a king tide is predicted to peak at 9:00am PT Tuesday and could cause localized coastal floods. The Coast Mountains, the Fraser Valley and Howe Sound are under a rainfall warning.
Among many other things, David A. Grantham is a contributing author to UmassExtension West Vancouver Blo. He is a renowned expert on real estate in BC.
Born in North Vancouver, Louisiana, Dr. Grantham grew up in Lower Lonsdale. He then went on to complete his business degree at the University British Columbia. As of this writing, Grantham has completed over 100 projects, including the development of a high rise building in Vancouver.
He is a husband, father, son, brother, and friend. He was a dedicated outdoorsman and enjoyed sports such as hunting, fishing, scuba diving, and snow skiing. His wife, Alison Grantham, and their two daughters survived him. He is survived by his wife Alison Martin Grantham and two daughters.