Fall is full of good things, like cozy sweaters, Thanksgiving leftovers, and pumpkin-flavoured baked goods, but it can also bring some less-than-stellar weather. When the forecast calls for a heavy rain or a windstorm, it’s important to know what to do. The City of Port Moody has compiled some helpful tips so you can stay safe no matter what fall has in store.
How much rain falls in Port Moody at this time of year? According to Environment Canada, total rainfall in October 2016 was 323 millimetres, or 12.7 inches. That’s a lot of rain! Heavy rainfall can cause flooding, so please remember to clear catch basins near your home. Remove leaves, branches, and other debris to prevent flooding on your street.
Rain, whether it’s light showers or a torrential downpour, can also make driving dangerous. Here are some tips for staying safe behind the wheel:
- Slow down. Posted speed limits are based on driving in ideal conditions, not on wet roads.
- Maintain a proper following distance. More distance is required for stopping safely in wet weather.
- Make sure your tires are in good shape (with lots of tread) and your windshield wipers are in good working order.
- Turn on your headlights, even in the daytime.
- Avoid hydroplaning – sliding uncontrollably across a wet road surface – by slowing down and driving with tires that have adequate tread. If you start to slide, ease off the accelerator slowly, and steer smoothly in the direction you want to go.
Although windstorms are not frequent in the Metro Vancouver area, it’s best to be prepared, as they can be hazardous and cause a significant amount of damage. Winds that reach 70 kilometres per hour or more are capable of breaking large tree branches, or uprooting or breaking entire trees, which can lead to power outages, property damage, and blocked roads.
Before a storm:
- Be informed. Check weather forecasts via radio, television, websites, and social media.
- Make sure your emergency kit is always ready and easily accessible.
- Tie down anything that might be blown away by the wind, such as garden furniture, garbage cans, etc.
- Prune dead branches from trees, and cut down dead trees. A certified arborist can check tree health and help with pruning or removal. If a tree on municipal property looks like it might be a hazard, please call City of Port Moody Operations at 604-469-4574.
- Identify places where you and your family can shelter.
During the storm:
- If you are indoors, stay there, and stay well away from any windows, exterior doors, or fireplaces.
- Avoid using an elevator, in case of a power outage.
- If you are outside, head indoors as quickly as possible. Never take shelter under a tree, in case of falling branches or lightning.
- If you are in a car, stop the car away from trees or power lines that might fall on you. Avoid the base of steep or unstable slopes, and low areas prone to flooding. Stay inside the car until the danger passes.
- Boaters should avoid being on the water and ensure their boats are secured.
- If you are indoors, you can use a cell or cordless phone, but stay away from land-line telephones with cords in case of lightning.
- Report power outages to BC Hydro by calling 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376), or *HYDRO (*49376) on your mobile phone.
After the wind dies down:
- Check your property for damage, and clear away debris from rain gutters and catch basins. Watch out for broken glass.
- When walking around outdoors, look up to check for hazards. Broken tree branches may hang dangerously overhead.
- If you see a downed or damaged wire, call 9-1-1 and ask for Fire. Always assume a downed or damaged power line is live, and stay back at least 10 metres.
- Report fallen trees, branches, and other debris on municipal property by calling City of Port Moody Operations at 604-469-4574.
- Continue to check radio, television, websites, or social media for updated information or instructions, as access to roads or some parts of the community may be blocked.
- Be a good neighbour. Help people who may require special assistance, such as parents with small children, people with disabilities, and the elderly.
Visit portmoody.ca/emergency to learn more about what to do during extreme weather events.