Hazards in B.C.

Find official emergency resources on hazards in B.C.

Seasonal Hazards

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Flooding

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Flooding terms: 

Flood Warning: 
River levels have exceeded the river bank or will exceed the river bank imminently, and flooding of areas adjacent to affected rivers will result. 

Flood Watch: 
River levels are rising and will approach or may exceed the river bank. Flooding of areas adjacent to affected rivers may occur. 

High Streamflow Advisory: 
River levels are rising or are expected to rise rapidly, but no major flooding is expected. Minor flooding in low-lying areas is possible. 

Freshet: 
Spring flooding due to snowmelt and rainfall. 

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Wildfire

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Year-round Hazards

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Tsunami

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Tsunami notification zones: 

B.C.’s coastal communities are divided into 5 notification zones

Tsunami alert levels: 

Warning: 

The highest level of tsunami alert. Warnings are issued when there is an imminent threat of a tsunami from: 

  • A large undersea earthquake, or 
  • Following confirmation that that a potentially destructive tsunami is underway 

At first, a Warning may be based on seismic information as a way of notifying the public early. Warnings advise that appropriate actions be taken in response to the tsunami threat. These actions could include the evacuation of low-lying coastal areas. 

Advisory: 

The second highest level of tsunami alert. Advisories are issued due to the threat of a tsunami that could produce strong currents dangerous to those in or near the water. 

Significant inundation is not expected for areas under an Advisory. Coastal zones may be at risk due to strong currents. 

Appropriate actions by local emergency management personnel may include closing beaches, and evacuating harbours and marinas. 

Watch: 

The third highest level of tsunami alert. Watches are based on seismic information without confirmation that a destructive tsunami is underway. 

There is a potential threat to a zone under a Watch but communities have time to prepare. Emergency management personnel and coastal residents should prepare to take action in case the Watch is upgraded. 

Cancellation: 

Cancels any previously issued tsunami messages. It is issued when there is no longer observed evidence of tsunami waves at tide gauge stations. Local conditions may differ from those at tide gauge stations and local authorities should determine the safety of coastlines. 

Once a cancellation has been issued for a tsunami event, the Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness will no longer issue tsunami messages. 

Receive tsunami alerts

Sign up at the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission to receive notifications from the National Tsunami Warning Center about events impacting B.C. 

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