May 21, 2018

BC residents and emergency crews prepare for more flooding this week

15 May 2018, 05:46 | Taylor George

Officials warn BC flooding may be worse due to 2017 wildfires

More homes under evacuation order as floods continue near Merritt

Frances Maika with the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary says almost 1,200 more people have been told they need to leave over 500 properties in the headwaters of the Granby, Kettle and West Kettle Rivers.

The city's downtown area seemed drier Saturday morning, but the regional district said an unknown number of people had been trapped in their homes, prompting a flyover by emergency officials.

Jessica Mace of the Kettle River Watershed Authority said volunteers arrived in downtown Grand Forks from across the area to help business owners and residents as waters rise there, too.

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary has downgraded 74 properties from evacuation orders to evacuation alerts.

"The act of causing this water to enter the sewer system in current conditions is causing pump infrastructure to function beyond capacity, which may result in a breakdown of the town sewer management system", the town said in a news release.

Also closed in both directions Friday was Highway 8 about 10 kilometres west of Merritt at 10 Mile Bridge because of a rapid increase in flood waters.

As the temperatures rise in the mountains a substantial amount of snow in the alpine areas is expected to start melting, bringing more flooding next week.

"We have a lot of people who refused to leave under order and we had to put a lot of our rescue resources into going back into rescuing these people", he said.

"This is definitely going to be in the range of a one-in-200-year flood", said Frances Maika, spokeswoman for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, where most of the orders have been issued.

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Public Safety Minister Mike Farthworth said the province is monitoring the water levels and has activated the South West Region Emergency Centre in Surrey.

Some people in Lower Nicola, in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, are being allowed to return home after 70 houses in the district were placed under an evacuation order earlier this week.

People should stay away from fast-moving water and not drive through areas that are flooded, he said.

"Even if temperatures cool, and we get additional rain, that can also aggravate soil and dikes that may be saturated", he said, adding that the province will roll out dike patrols starting next week.

Residents are being asked to register at the Grand Forks Curling Rink located at 7230 21st St., in Grand Forks or the Midway Community Centre at 692 7th Ave., Midway, B.C.

Officials in Osoyoos declared a state of emergency Thursday evening due to the "imminent threat of flooding and rising lake levels".

Not since 1948 has the Boundary seen a flood of this kind.

About 100 properties have been evacuated in the area and another 600 are under evacuation alert.

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