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Unseasonably warm weather leads to historic flooding across parts of BC

Last Updated May 13, 2018 at 7:23 am PST

This image, captured by crews on May 11, 2018, shows the extent of the flooding in Osoyoos. (Photo via Twitter: @EmergMgtRDOS)
Summary

A couple thousand people remain out of their homes in Grand Forks as floods rage

Forecasters issue high streamflow advisory for the Fraser Valley on the Lower Mainland

GRAND FORKS (NEWS 1130) – People living in southern BC are bracing for the possibility of more flooding from melting snow as things go from bad to worse in some parts of the province.

This comes as nearly 2,800 people in Grand Forks remain out of their homes because of catastrophic floods that have taken over the community over the last few days.

Power in the area has, for the most part, been restored, however, large areas are still without gas. Crews with Fortis BC are assessing the situation.

The river levels in the Kootenay Boundary have begun receding, but people are still being told many evacuation orders will stay in place until a second surge of water from melting snow passes through local watersheds sometime this weekend into early next week.

Chris Marsh of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary says it will take years and millions of dollars to rebuild everything. Waters rose so quickly that many people were trapped in their homes as parts of the community’s downtown core were washed out.

The district adds firefighters have rescued more than 30 people by boat in Grand Forks by sometimes swimming through muddy debris.

Many people affected by the flooding in Grand Forks have registered with the Red Cross and loved ones wanting to connect with them can call 250.442.1658 or 250.442.1556.

Two days of heavy rain pushed three local rivers to levels not seen in about 70 years as smaller creeks saw record-highs.

Meantime, an evacuation order has been expanded for people in Osoyoos with an additional 30 homes being further impacted.

The good news is for people who were previously forced from their homes in Okanagan Falls where 54 properties are no longer under an evacuation order.

There are nearly two dozen states of local emergency in effect and sandbag machines have been brought in from as far as Saskatchewan.

Flooding closer to home

A warning is still in place for the Fraser River flowing through parts of the Lower Mainland.

The River Forecast Centre has issued a high streamflow advisory, including the mainstem from Prince George through Hope and the Fraser Valley.

High temperatures are forecast across the province this weekend, which could melt even more snow in the mountains, contributing to higher river levels.

The agency says warm temperatures over the past three weeks have led to a much earlier than normal runoff period for the river.

It also says many parts of the river are either at or above their historic flows this early in the season and rises are expected to continue this weekend.

NEWS 1130 Meteorologist Russ Lacate is calling for inland temperatures on Sunday to approach 28 degrees.