Grand Forks sees most severe flooding since 1948

Grand Forks sees most severe flooding since 1948

Emergency officials warned this week that local rivers "have not peaked yet", and that the peak could last several days. The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen on Thursday night issued an evacuation order for 23 homes, and an evacuation alert for than 100 properties, including the Coast Hotel, because of flooding from Osoyoos Lake.

This large two-story cottage was originally located on one shore of New Brunswick's Grand Lake during record high floods, but was floated away on the high water and found upright more than six kilometres away where it was spotted hung up floating on the opposite shore.

Officials said the water levels in the Boundary rivers exceeded those seen in 1948, when most of southeast B.C. was underwater, and almost 2,300 homes were destroyed and 10 people killed. The town's downtown has been evacuated.

Some people in Lower Nicola, in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, are being allowed to return home after 70 houses in the district were placed under an evacuation order earlier this week.

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 as waters rise there, too. She and her son Julian are now staying with friends who live at a higher elevation.

The RDKB said they are in the initial stages of creating a re-entry plan for residents who are now on evacuation order so we can let people back into their homes when it is safe to do so. The order to evacuate caught her off guard.

"As of this morning, all properties within the 200-year floodplain have been escalated to evacuation orders".

The RDKB says the evacuation orders are due to imminent danger to life and health due to flooding.

Julian had to leave all his belongings behind.

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Many of B.C.'s floods have washed out major roads and some highways, leaving Ministry of Transportation engineering crews scrambling to fix major transit routes.

The evacuation alert and state of emergency have been lifted for the Caribou Region District, says Emily Epp, emergency operations public information officer for the district.

"Weather forecasts are for clear skies and warmer temperatures over the coming days, which will continue to melt mountain snow meaning river levels are expected to remain high".

"It's been truly wonderful", she said.

"Our main message is preparation goes a long way".

Affected people are urged to register at the Emergency Social Services reception centre at the Grand Forks Curling Centre at 7230 21st Street.

Parts of the town of Osoyoos were ordered evacuated Thursday and flooding is also reported in Keremeos, Cawston and Okanagan Falls.

The town has also ordered all residents to turn off their sump pumps and that the "act of directing basement flood or ground water directly into the town's sewer system, through the use of sump pumps or other infrastructure, stop immediately", as water being drained into the sewer system in current conditions is overwhelming pump infrastructure.

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