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Pemberton flood evacuation order downgraded, but dozens of homes still on alert

Click to play video: 'Pemberton’s receding water levels prompt optimism from residents'
Pemberton’s receding water levels prompt optimism from residents
It's unusual for Pemberton residents to be on flood watch in January, but that's the reality for those in dozens of properties Wednesday. Water is receding in the community north of Whistler, but as Grace Ke reports, it's not over yet – Jan 31, 2024

Officials in the Village of Pemberton downgraded an evacuation alert for a handful of properties, as fears of flood damage began to recede Wednesday.

The six properties on Airport Road, however, remain under an evacuation alert — along with nearly three dozen others in the community.

The ongoing alerts were expanded on Wednesday morning.

The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District announced the expansion to include 33 new properties, with the majority being located on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, which was recommended by the Pemberton Valley Dyking District.

The full list of properties can be read online at the regional district’s website.

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The alert has been expanded due to the potential danger caused by flood risk.

According to the Pemberton Valley Dyking District, the area is starting with a full Lillooet Lake, only 1 metre below Monday’s high.

Click to play video: 'Pemberton, B.C., declares state of emergency due to flooding'
Pemberton, B.C., declares state of emergency due to flooding

“All rivers are starting from a much higher state than Monday. All of the canals and ditches are still full. So it may take less time to get to the highs we had if the rainfall and snow melt is the same,” its staff said on Facebook.

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An evacuation alert is to prepare community members to evacuate properties, should it be found necessary.

The regional district said residents will be given as much advance notice as possible before evacuation, however, they may receive limited notice due to changing conditions.

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The Village of Pemberton declared a state of emergency on Tuesday afternoon, amid a rising flood threat from heavy rainfall.

The village also issued evacuation orders for six properties on Airport Road: 1643, 1674, 1690, 1710, 1730, and 1850, along with an evacuation alert for all low-lying properties adjacent to the Arn Canal, Vine Road and the Highway 99 Mobile Home Park.

“The acting dike there is actually Airport Road itself and the water started to come over and there’s a little percolation underneath so for the safety of the folks in that area we decided to put the order on,” Pemberton Mayor Mike Richman told Global News on Tuesday.

“If something does breach and something happens quickly, we can go to an evacuation order for everybody (or) for specific areas. It’s important for people to be ready (and) have a bag packed.”

Click to play video: 'Pemberton, B.C., declares state of emergency due to flooding'
Pemberton, B.C., declares state of emergency due to flooding

There have been several ongoing special weather statements for Southern B.C. for elevated seasonal temperatures and periods of heavy rain.

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Those areas under the statements include Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast, Metro Vancouver, and Howe Sound.

A heavy rainfall warning in effect for the Howe Sound and Squamish regions, as well, is expected to last through Wednesday. Rain is forecast to ease on Thursday.

Vancouver Island and much of the South Coast were under flood warnings or watches, as the province was rocked by back-to-back storms marked by warm temperatures and heavy rainfall.

Click to play video: 'Latest on the atmospheric river'
Latest on the atmospheric river

The B.C. River Forecast Centre has issued warnings for the Squamish River and its tributaries, including the Cheakamus River, as well as the Lillooet River near Pemberton.

Watches are in effect for the Sumas River, Howe Sound, the Sunshine Coast, the Sea-to-Sky region, and the rest of the North Shore Mountains, as well as Vancouver Island.

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High streamflow advisories are issued for Lower Fraser River tributaries, the Fraser Canyon and the rest of the Fraser Valley. The North Coast, including tributaries around Kitimat and Prince Rupert, are also under advisories.

The storms have already brought between 80 and 300 mm of rain to various parts of B.C. since last Friday.

— With files from Elizabeth McSheffrey

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