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Weekend rain on Haida Gwaii exceeds threshold for landslides

Haida Gwaii Natural Resource District warning against backcountry travel
FILE - Ben Greenough, public works superintendent for Queen Charlotte, looks over a landslide that knocked out power and shut the highway east of the village in October 2017. On Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, Haida Gwaii Natural Resource District engineering and recreation officer Larry Duke announced rainfall levels had exceeded the threshold for landslides. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer file)

Islanders are being advised to avoid the backcountry after weekend rain brought hundreds of millimetres of water down on Haida Gwaii.

Larry Duke, engineering and recreation officer for the Haida Gwaii Natural Resource District, shared an update in the Village of Queen Charlotte Emergency Network on Saturday (Aug. 15) that said rainfall levels had exceeded the threshold for landslides, and travel through steep and landslide-prone terrain, including but not limited to Rennell Sound and McClinton Bay, was being discouraged.

On Monday, Duke told the Observer he had received a few reports of slides, including one on Moresby Island in the Deena River area, and the warning was still in place.

“Even though the storms have come through and it’s been a day that risk is still out there,” he said. “We’re still in an elevated risk right now. It hasn’t had enough time to recover yet.

“Hopefully things will dry out and then we’ll just what the aftermath looks like.”

ALSO READ: Rain wallops south end with landslide, flooding

According to unofficial numbers provided by Carmen Hartt, a senior meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada Environment Canada, 40 millimetres of precipitation fell at Sandspit from Friday (Aug. 14) until Sunday (Aug. 16), 126 millimetres fell at Rose Spit, 68 millimetres fell at Langara Island and 102 millimetres fell at Kindakun Rocks.

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