Don Johnston, who lives on Buttertubs Drive in Nanaimo, watches water from the Millstone River rise around his neighbour’s home Monday. Residents contended with flooded basements and crawlspaces and even washed-out roads when a weather phenomenon meteorologists refer to as an atmospheric river delivered heavy rain and snow runoff over the weekend. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Rainstorm fallout has Nanaimo restoration companies hopping

Flooded basements and crawlspaces spark calls for restoration company services

Restoration companies in Nanaimo are dealing with dozens of soggy basements and crawlspaces following a weekend of heavy rain that flooded more than rivers.

Lisa West, Environment Canada meteorologist, said the storm dumped 63.6 millimetres of rain at Nanaimo Airport and a rainfall recording station at the City of Nanaimo Public Works yard tallied 77.4 mm of rain.

“We had the first low-pressure system that really zipped by Friday night into Saturday morning, but the real event didn’t start until Saturday night and the all Sunday, Sunday night and even into [Monday] morning,” West said.

But it was pooling, not rushing water, that posed the biggest problems for owners of homes and businesses who clamoured for help when ground saturated and drainage systems were overwhelmed by the downpour.

“So far – and we’re not done yet – we’ve got about 25 [calls] just from Sunday,” said Wendy Anderson, spokeswoman for Belfor Property Restoration.

Anderson said calls came in from across the city, especially for sump pumps.

“It’s all over the place,” Anderson said. “Just mainly crawlspace and basement stuff, but some of them are a lot worse.”

Rebecca Hill, co-owner of Rainbow International of Vancouver Island, said her company was responding to backed up sewers and overwhelmed perimeter drains.

“There are certain pockets of the city where we’re seeing it worse than others, in our experience,” Hill said.

She said the bulk of calls were coming from the Nanaimo River Road and Cedar areas and that during prolonged periods of heavy rains it is important for people to keep an eye out for potentially damaging buildups of water.

“You think you’re fine and then it might not be fine in your yard, necessarily, but it’s important that people are checking and keeping an eye on things,” she said. “It think, quite luckily, the rain subsided so that was a real gift to people yesterday that it slowed down a little bit.”

Hill hadn’t been keeping track of how many calls for service had come in, but did say staff was keeping up with demand as best they could. Overall, though, the volume of calls coming in was about on par for heavy rainfall event such as Sunday’s.

“It was busy [Monday], there’s no doubt about it. It’s been a little bit quieter today,” she said. “Sometimes it takes time for these things to cycle through.”

West said on Thursday, Feb. 1, predictions call for about 10-20 mm of rain, but there are no major weather events like the weekend’s looming on the horizon.

“We do not have another atmospheric river coming,” West said. “That’s what caused the intense rainfall rate.”

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