Evacuation alert issued for residents in B.C.’s Boundary regions as flood risk rises

Click to play video 'Residents of B.C. Interior and Boundary regions brace for flooding' Residents of B.C. Interior and Boundary regions brace for flooding
Flooding is projected by the B.C. River Forecast Centre in the first week of June as heavy rain slides into the Okanagan weather forecast to finish May.

A one-in-200-year flood is forecast in the Boundary region of southern B.C., prompting officials to put almost 2,300 residents in the region on evacuation alert.

“At this time residents are not required to evacuate, however, residents are encouraged to find accommodation with friends or family in a safe place before rivers rise, which is expected to take place between Sunday, May 31 and Tuesday, June 2,” an information bulletin from the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary stated on Friday evening.

“Residents who choose to remain at home should be ready to leave the area with very short notice.”

Click to play video 'Thunderstorms, rain could bring severe flooding to Okanagan, Shuswap, Kootenay-Boundary regions' Thunderstorms, rain could bring severe flooding to Okanagan, Shuswap, Kootenay-Boundary regions
Thunderstorms, rain could bring severe flooding to Okanagan, Shuswap, Kootenay-Boundary regions

The alert includes residents living on 1,136 address points along Highway 33 from Carmi to Rock Creek, along Highway 3 all the way to Christina Lake, all properties north of Grand Forks on the Granby River and all properties around Christina Lake.

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Earlier Friday, the RDKB declared a local state of emergency for the entire Boundary region in Southern B.C.

READ MORE: Sand, sandbags ready for high water this weekend, say Kelowna, West Kelowna

Extreme weather with upwards of 50 mm of rain that could fall during thunderstorms on Sunday evening, coupled with heat forecast on Saturday and a snow pack in the Boundary region that is still 127 per cent of normal have all created the perfect storm for flooding in the B.C. Southern Interior.

Overland flooding and erosion from elevated waterways is expected.

On Saturday, the City of Grand Forks will begin assembling aqua dams in several neighbourhoods, including on Downtown Riverside Drive at 72nd Ave., 68th from the industrial bridge to Interfor, and on Granby Road, Riverside, South Ruckle, east side businesses, 19th St. and Beatrice St.

The B.C. River Forecast Centre has issued a flood watch for the Boundary, Okanagan and Salmon River area of the Shuswap, as well as areas around the Bonaparte River north of Cache Creek.

A high streamflow advisory remains for most of the B.C. Interior region surrounding the area.

Residents should be prepared for the alert to change to an evacuation order at a moments notice, according to the RDKB.

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READ MORE: Flood watch: State of local emergency declared in B.C.’s Boundary region

Sandbags and sand are available at the Beaverdell Fire Hall, Westbridge Hall, Riverside Centre in Rock Creek and Grand Forks Arena.

“Anyone at risk of flooding should stay informed about local freshet conditions, and ensure they have considered plans for moving valuable items, livestock or other items to safe locations if required,” the bulletin stated.

Residents filling sandbags should bring their own shovels and transportation and maintain social distancing protocols demanded by the current pandemic conditions.

Any erosion of flooding should be reported to the Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre at 1-800-663-3456.

Full evacuation alert maps, addresses and updates for the evacuation alert in the RDKB can be found on its website here.

READ MORE: B.C.’s Southern Interior prepares for possible weekend flooding

The Kootenay Boundary regional district is home to more than 31,000 residents across 8,200 square kilometres that are hemmed in by the U.S. border.