B.C. flooding news Monday: evacuation alerts remain along Fraser River
Several low-lying communities along the Fraser River are still keeping an eye on the river Monday.
Levels are expected to creep past six metres, which could cause flooding in areas not protected by dikes.
In the Township of Langley, 260 properties remain under an evacuation alert but engineering Manager Aaron Ruhl says the level of the Fraser River is easing.
“Right now it’s reached about 5.95 [metres], so the rising levels seemed to have tapered off for the weekend,” he said.
The evacuation alerts will remain in effect until the Fraser drops to 5.5 metres, and as a precaution the emergency operations centre remains open, with dike, park, and road patrols continuing in low-lying areas.
“Currently our daily dike patrols continue, along with patrolling our parks trails that are located near the Fraser River on the flood plain,” said Ruhl. “And we’re implementing closures as necessary on the parks trails. We’re also monitoring some of our roads in the unprotected areas for implementing closures. We haven’t had to close any roads as of yet but we’re prepared if we need to.”
Meanwhile, more people in the B.C. interior are being allowed to go home.
Another 230 evacuation orders were lifted around Grand Forks Monday afternoon, bringing the total number of properties cleared for return in the Boundary region to about 1,200, covering about 2,400 people.
About 175 evacuation orders in Grand Forks and 416 at Christina Lake were lifted Sunday.
Regional District of Kootenay Boundary spokesperson Francis Maika said another 326 homes are in the process of being assessed but many won’t be able to go home — at least for now.
“Some of the houses that were absolutely inundated with water, they are going to have fairly serious, if not catastrophic damage to structures,” she said.
“We have some other homes that have slipped down the side of river banks or are hanging off the edges, these are real tragedies for the people who owned these homes.”
Assessment teams had been touring homes over the last few days to determine who could go back.
However, the worst of the flooding appears to be over. Another anticipated wave didn’t happen in Grand Forks thanks to lower rainfall and cooler temperatures, Maika said.
“It’s incredibly stressful to be out of your home, and that’s why our goal is to try to get — in the next I would say 36 to 48 hours, by the end of the day May 21 –the majority of people who are now on evacuation order, where it is safe to do so, back to their homes,” she said.
WATCH: Coverage of the flooding on Globalnews.ca:
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan will visit Okanagan Lake Monday, which is another area impacted by the flooding.
Around 300 troops are helping with relief and they are joined by wildfire crews.
They are filling sandbags that will line the perimeter of the lake in West Kelowna.
The lake is now full but still sits at around a metre below last year’s high mark of 343 metres.
Rising rivers have forced more people from their homes in Keremeos.
Four properties, just outside the village, have been ordered evacuated due to immediate danger to life and safety, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen said Monday.
Among those asked to leave are residents living along the Similkameen River in the Riverside RV Park Resort and on Highway 3.
Meanwhile, the B.C. River Forecast Centre has issued more flood advisories, including a flood watch for the Shuswap River.
READ MORE: Flood of advisories from the Shuswap
The Salmon River, near Falkland and Salmon Arm, is also a growing concern, the centre said in a news release, also issuing a flood warning for the river.
Rainfall is the biggest concern with these rivers, officials say, as the likelihood of flooding from snow melt alone has dissipated.
-With files from Neetu Garcha
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