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

Construction of LNG Canada plant still on hold

Construction will only begin following a positive final investment decision

VIDEO: Watch ex-Kitimat video director Stephano Barberis’ new reel, featuring his own new music

Breathe of My Leaves music project debuts ‘Chimera’ album of electronic sounds

Sulphur dioxide pollution over Kitimat could be eliminated after 2024

New process will eliminate SO2 as a byproduct

Kitimat, Terrace home sales up from 2017

Optimism surrounding a potentially positive LNG decision one of the factors

B.C. Green Party pushes for wild salmon commissioner

The role would serve as a unifying force in the provincial government

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

Chilliwack Chiefs make history with first RBC Cup win

In front of a huge and noisy crowd, the Chiefs claimed their first-ever national junior A title.

UPDATED: More than half of flood evacuees in Kootenay-Boundary allowed to return home

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Most Read