Vancouver (B.C.), Ottawa, May 10 (Canadian-Media): Flooding in British Columbia's (B.C.) southern Interior due to extremely heavy snowpacks, sudden downpours and unseasonably warm temperatures, nearly 2,700 people had received evacuation orders, media reports said.
Chris Marsh, emergency operations centre director and program manager for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, said there has been “significant flooding” in the eastern area of the region, washouts on smaller streams and tributaries in the region.
Marsh added that different parts of the district could see bodies of water swell between 30 and 100 centimetres.
The province also encouraged local governments and First Nations communities along the lower Fraser River to prepare for potential flooding as it experiences high flow rates.
Frances Maika of the regional district said the flood is “in the range” of a once in a 200 year occurrence.
The EmergencyInfoBC website, which provides information during provincial emergencies, lists evacuation orders or alerts in seven regional districts and for seven First Nations around the province.
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.
“It’s been truly amazing,” she said. “I was just downtown and there are tons of people down there helping all the businesses sand bag their places as best they can.”
“In the next 24 hours, we are going to see the peak in some areas but then people have to respond to what has happened. The recovery is going to be an active process,” she said.“Many businesses are starting to donate food,” said Mace. “People are very happy to see food show up.”
Meantime, the B.C. River Forecast Centre has upgraded to a flood warning for the Okanagan, Boundary, and Salmon rivers.
The agency said the warning includes Mission Creek and surrounding tributaries in the Okanagan, as well as West Kettle River, Kettle River, Granby River and surrounding tributaries in Boundary.The Central Okanagan’s emergency response centre said there had been localized flood and record creek flows in the area including Kelowna. Mission Creek reached a record flow rate overnight on Wednesday, the centre said, and dikes, sand bags and tiger dams were able to contain the flow.
Residents under evacuation order are being directed to reception centres in Grand Forks and Midway, but Maika said the surge of water should pass quickly.
Thousands of homes have been evacuated in B.C.’s southern Interior, and several highways have been closed, as rapidly melting snowpacks and heavy rain cause flooding throughout the province.In the next 24 hours, we are going to see the peak in some areas but then people have to respond to what has happened. The recovery is going to be an active process, she said.