Warm weather could cause more flood problems in parts of B.C. as assessed damage

VANCOUVER – An emergency operations officer in southern British Columbia says a forecast of warm weather has caused residents to prepare for the possibility of more flooding due to melting snow, while at least one city begins to rescue.
The damage from torrential rains has already had a “catastrophic” impact on the Grand Forks community, said Chris Marsh of the Kootenay Boundary Regional District.
“The effects of this event will be long lasting,” said Marsh. “We are talking about years, years and millions of dollars.”
About 2,800 residents were forced to leave their homes, Marsh said Friday, adding that the rescue efforts have brought some challenges.
“We have a lot of people who refused to go on demand and we had to put a lot of our rescue resources back to rescue these people,” he said.
On Thursday, two days of heavy rains pushed the Kettle, West Kettle and Granby rivers to levels higher than those recorded during devastating floods 70 years ago, while smaller streams had record flows, Marsh said.
A levee also raped a neighborhood, blocking power in much of downtown Grand Forks, he said.
Dan Derby, the regional deputy chief of rescue firefighters, said that getting people back to their homes as quickly as possible is one of the top priorities after evaluating infrastructure, such as roads and bridges.
David Campbell, head of B.C. River Forecast Center said that a prolonged period of dry weather is expected throughout the province next week.
The temperature in the last three weeks has been five degrees higher than normal in the Interior, and that could mean more problems for parts of southeastern British Columbia, Campbell said in a conference call from Victoria.
“We are coming to a month of warm weather by the end of next week and that has caused the rivers to grow much, much earlier than normal.”
The Kootenay Boundary Regional District said the evacuation of nearly 1,400 properties was ordered, and that the waters rose so quickly that many people were trapped in their homes in Grand Forks.
Chris Duffy, executive director of Emergency Management BC programs, said that 31 evacuation orders were issued throughout the province, affecting 1,993 homes. Evacuation alerts, warning residents that they may have to leave without notice, are in effect for 930 residences.
Duffy said 23 local emergency states were also in effect and sandbag machines were brought in from Saskatchewan, while firefighters were deployed to help with the looting of sand in several communities.
People should stay away from rapidly moving waters and not drive through areas that are flooded, he said.
“We encourage local governments and First Nations at this time to seek to activate their operations centers, as we begin to consider the lower Fraser (River) we are in dialogue with these communities so that we can have advanced planning and communications in the place. ”
The River Forecast Center said flood warnings are in effect on the Okanagan waterways and border regions, along the Canada-US border, while floods are located on many other rivers and streams, including the Similkameen and Tulameen rivers west of Grand Forks.
Parts of the city of Osoyoos were ordered to evacuate on Thursday and floods were also reported in Keremeos, Cawston and Okanagan Falls.
Osoyoos declared a state of local emergency and ordered the owners with flooded basements to stop pumping the water back into the city’s sewer system.
“The fact of having this water enter the sewage system in the current conditions is causing the pump infrastructure to operate beyond its capacity, which can cause a collapse of the municipal sewer system,” the town said in a statement. Press release.

Mangat Media

Rajbir Mangat

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