After an evacuation order is issued on 14th Avenue, among other areas, a man is seen leaving the back of his house with a cat through knee-deep water flowing strongly against him. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

Flooding forces thousands out of their homes in B.C.’s southern Interior

Nearly 2,700 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes in British Columbia’s southern Interior

Nearly 2,700 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes in British Columbia’s southern Interior as officials warn of flooding due to extremely heavy snowpacks, sudden downpours and unseasonably warm temperatures.

Chris Marsh, emergency operations centre director and program manager for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, said there has been ”significant flooding” in the eastern area of the region.

“Over the last 24 to 36 hours we’ve experienced significant rainfall, up to 50 millimetres in some spots and in some of the drainages in this area, and that’s caused the rivers to rise significantly over the past 24 hours,” Marsh said Thursday.

Frances Maika of the regional district said the flood is “in the range” of a once in a 200 year occurrence.

Evacuation orders were issued Thursday for the about 1,500 properties covering a large area along the Granby, Kettle and West Kettle rivers, as well as in the Carmi region, 80 kilometres southeast of Kelowna.

Related: Evacuation orders issued for 2,500 in B.C.’s Kootenay-Boundary region

Related: ‘Out of control’: Flood evacuates 54 Okanagan Falls properties

Officials in Osoyoos declared a state of emergency Thursday evening due to the “imminent threat of flooding and rising lake levels.” They also ordered the Coast Hotel to be evacuated due to an “immediate danger to life and safety.”

Related: Evacuation Order has been issued for the Osoyoos Coast Hotel

Related: Highway 3 west of Keremeos to remain closed

Marsh said there have been washouts on smaller streams and tributaries in the region as well, isolating residents on some properties.

Marsh said they expected water levels to peak Thursday evening, adding that different parts of the district could see bodies of water swell between 30 and 100 centimetres.

“If you are thinking you’re safe because you haven’t flooded before, but you are seeing the water come up, please make sure you’re safe and that you make the decision timely enough to evacuate yourself if you need to.”

Jessica Mace of the Kettle River Watershed Authority said volunteers arrived in downtown Grand Forks from across the area to help business owners and residents.

“It’s been truly amazing,” she said. “I was just downtown and there are tons of people down there helping all the businesses sand bag their places as best they can.”

Mace and Maika said volunteers had filled almost 30,000 of the 120,000 sandbags that went out.

“Many businesses are starting to donate food,” said Mace. “People are very happy to see food show up.”

Residents under evacuation order are being directed to reception centres in Grand Forks and Midway, but Maika said the surge of water should pass quickly.

“In the next 24 hours, we are going to see the peak in some areas but then people have to respond to what has happened. The recovery is going to be an active process,” she said.

The EmergencyInfoBC website, which provides information during provincial emergencies, lists evacuation orders or alerts in seven regional districts and for seven First Nations around the province.

The province also encouraged local governments and First Nations communities along the lower Fraser River to prepare for potential flooding as it experiences high flow rates. Average temperatures in the region have been five degrees above normal for the last two weeks, and higher temperatures are forecast for next week, it said in a news release.

The Central Okanagan’s emergency response centre said there had been localized flood and record creek flows in the area including Kelowna. Mission Creek reached a record flow rate overnight on Wednesday, the centre said, and dikes, sand bags and tiger dams were able to contain the flow.

Related: Joe Rich residents displaced by floods

Related: More flood erosion on Princeton Summerland Road

— By Spencer Harwood and Beth Leighton in Vancouver

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Marijuana-related business requires rezoning in Oak Bay

Council plans to add cannabis laws to priorities list

Island Corridor Foundation optimistic about restoring rail service

If green-lighted, first priority would be Langford to Victoria route

Esquimalt senior’s complex getting redeveloped

The Esquimalt Lions Lodge is one of the projects to receive funding for affordable housing

Firefighters rescue horse stuck in Saanich mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Federal environment minister faces protesters in B.C.

Catherine McKenna defended her government’s environmental record during a funding announcement in Victoria

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Dog psychic can help Vancouver Islanders better connect with their pets

Michele Wonnacott hosts one-day seminar in Nanaimo on Saturday, Nov. 17

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

Cowichan school district defends lack of notice to parents following elementary student arrest

Officials with School District 79 stand by their decision not to send out an alert.

Older B.C. drivers subsidizing younger ones, study finds

ICBC protects higher-risk drivers, pays for testing costs

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

Most Read