B.C. residents on 'alert' as officials lift evacuation order
Wednesday, May 2, 2018, 12:02 PM - Flooding in the B.C. Interior triggered evacuation orders and alerts, affecting hundreds of properties, as the province is poised to grapple with the effects of warming temperatures and an above-average snowpack.
In southern B.C., evacuation orders were lifted for 133 properties early Tuesday and replaced with an evacuation alert for most properties in the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District community of Tulameen. The alert means residents could be forced from their homes at a moment's notice. The district declared a local state of emergency on Sunday, as did Cariboo Regional District, where some residents were airlifted by helicopter.
A reception centre was set up at Riverside Community Centre, 148 Old Hedley Road, Princeton. Evacuees were asked to register there, or to call 250-490-4225.
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The Cariboo Regional District issued an evacuation order covering 46 properties in the Nazko Valley area. Evacuees there were asked to register at the Quesnel Recreation Centre at 500 North Star Road.
MUDSLIDE RISK IN CENTRAL OKANAGAN
On Saturday, the Central Okanogan declared a local state of emergency and issued an evacuation order for 12 properties in Killiney Beach, due to an unstable slope.
"People in the affected area have found other accommodations for the immediate future and there is no need at this time for Emergency Social Services," the district says. "The slope situation will be closely monitored and further information will be released as it becomes available. Residents and walkers are urged to avoid the area due to hazards related to the unstable slope."
The day before, the village of Cache Creek, some 85 km west of Kelowna, declared a state of local emergency as waters rose due to warming temperatures melting the above-average snowpack. Residents in at-risk areas have been told to lay down sandbags and not to drive through flooded areas.
"The people here have demonstrated their resilience time and time again. Weather conditions are what dictate our life here," Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta told CBC.
Last spring, Cache Creek's fire chief, 59-year-old Clayton Cassidy, died after being swept away by flood waters while checking water levels. His body was recovered in late May.
LANDSLIDE DAMAGE NEAR KELOWNA
On Tuesday, a landslide occurred just north of Kelowna, damaging a part of Westside road, located on the western side of Lake Okanagan. This fresh slide near Lake Okanagan has prompted an evacuation alert for two properties near the slide.
The evacuation alert is not an order to vacate the property, but the two properties mentioned in the alert must be able to leave quickly should the need for an upgraded evacuation order arise. As of Wednesday morning, the road was open, but single lane, with alternating traffic expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
The B.C. River Forecast Centre mantains a flood warning for the Nazko and West Road Rivers, along with a flood watch for the Central Interior, including the Bonaparte River, tributary rivers around Cache Creek, Merritt, Williams Lake, Quesnel, and surrounding areas. High streamflow advisories are also in effect for the South Interior, Boundary, Kootenay and Peace areas.
The B.C. Interior was one of the snowiest regions in the country this past winter, leaving much of it with above-normal snowpack, boding poorly for communities as the pack melts and rivers rise.