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BC Interior on 'high alert' as rivers, creeks reach peak levels

FILE: Okanagan Lake rose to a record high level in 2017, causing damage to surrounding properties and forcing evacuations. (Marianne Hardy, Photo)
Summary

Many creeks and rivers around the interior are expected to reach peak levels over the next few weeks

The Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre has been activated to help communities dealing with flooding

CACHE CREEK (NEWS 1130) – As water levels in BC’s Interior continue to rise, people are busy sandbagging their properties to try and protect them.

Many creeks and rivers are expected to peak next month, with some already reaching highs.

Cache Creek hit it’s peak on Friday, prompting Mayor John Ranta to declare a state of local emergency.

“I wouldn’t describe it as ‘overflowed its banks a bit,'” he tells NEWS 1130. “It overflowed its banks dramatically.”

Water levels have now receded shifting concerns to the Bonaparte River, which is expected to peak in the next few days. “People are busy armoring their properties,” Ranta adds.

Read more: Okanagan Lake approaches record water levels

In Kelowna, Axelle Bazett with emergency operations says Okanagan Lake isn’t a concern so far this year — but Mill Creek is.

“We do anticipate that peak flow from freshet to be within the next few weeks.”

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is also on high alert, with localized flooding prompting a number of evacuations.

Meantime, the Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre has been activated.

In anticipation of rising water levels because of above-average snowpack in areas, the centre is providing tips to keep locals safe.

The province advises against walking or driving through flooded streets, and urges people to stay clear of eroded banks.

Read more: River forecasters keeping close eye on snowpack

When it comes to protecting your property, the Emergency Coordination says to move valuables and equipment to higher ground, and to clear drains, eavestroughs and gutters.

“Create a household emergency plan, put together your grab-and-go bag, and connect with your neighbours,” it adds.

Okanagan Lake hit record water levels last year, and forced a number of evacuations. River forecasters have said they are keeping a close eye on snowpack in southern BC.