Mill Creek bursts banks, floods neighbourhood in Kelowna, B.C.

Click to play video: 'Mill Creek floods some residents out of downtown-area homes'
Mill Creek floods some residents out of downtown-area homes
Mill Creek floods some residents out of downtown-area homes – May 7, 2020

Mill Creek in Kelowna, B.C., spilled its banks overnight, sending water cascading into residential neighbourhoods.

Sandra Follick, deputy fire chief working with the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre, said significant rainfall combined with debris led to the high water.

“The rain event started it, and there was a couple of areas where debris backed up on some of the bridges that caused some flooding that wouldn’t normally have happened,” she said.

Photographs from the scene show floodwaters blanketing the roadway on Marshall Street, and the Shaughnessy apartment building on Sutherland Avenue was also impacted.

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“There are houses and apartments that have been impacted in different ways, and public works is still on scene assessing, along with FortisBC crews and other emergency personnel,” she said.

Follick added that she does not anticipate that evacuation alerts or orders will be issued.

“There will be no orders or alerts issued. It’s manageable by the public works side, the water is receding in the creeks, and they’ve cleared up a lot of the debris and they are just in the process of clearing the water out from the roadways and assisting residences as required,” she said.

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The City of Kelowna said city crews are clearing debris and monitoring flows following isolated flooding along Mill Creek at Bulman Road and Pacific Court and Brookside.

“Blockages can cause flooding in unpredictable areas and that’s what we saw this morning,” said Alan Newcombe, divisional director for infrastructure.

“The risk remains low for widespread flooding; however, localized flooding is still possible in the event of heavy rain.”

The city says Bulman Road remains closed and that crews are monitoring Mill Creek from Kelowna International Airport down to Okanagan Lake.

The city also said with the debris cleared, the flow in Mill Creek continues to drop, and that it is no longer overtopping banks near Marshal and Rowcliffe.

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It also said a pump is in place in the area to deal with street flooding.

“Please stay away from the area while crews are working,” said Newcombe. “We are asking the public to please refrain from trying to clear debris from creeks yourself, as we don’t want the public to put themselves at risk.”

While no flood warnings or advisories have been issued by the B.C. River Forecast Centre for Mill Creek, a high streamflow advisory is in effect for the North Okanagan, including tributaries around Vernon, Lumby and Winfield, as well as the Salmon River near Salmon Arm.

The Village of Lumby has issued an evacuation alert for residents living along Duteau, Bessette and Harris creeks due to water “rising rapidly.”

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The Boundary region, including the Kettle River, West Kettle River, Grandy River and tributaries have also been flagged for high water as snowmelt runoff contributes to rising flows.

The forecast centre says five to 15 millimetres of rain have fallen over the region in the past 24 hours.

More to come.

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