Dozens rescued from flooding in Grand Forks; officials warn of second wave

Dozens rescued from flooding in Grand Forks; officials warn of second wave

"(It's a) very dynamic situation.

Frances Maika with the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary says almost 1,200 more people have been told they need to leave over 500 properties in the headwaters of the Granby, Kettle and West Kettle Rivers.

RDKB emergency officials are cautioning that many evacuation orders will remain in place until a second surge of water from melting snow has passed through local watersheds over the weekend and into early next week.

Though river levels have nearly receded to pre-flood levels, unseasonably high temperatures across southern and central British Columbia are expected to melt existing snow packs at higher elevations.

The flooding is Grand Forks' worst since 1948.

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.

Many Grand Forks residents have registered with the Red Cross upon evacuation. "We're going to have a couple of weeks of very, very hard times along the waterways of British Columbia", Horgan said at the World Rugby Women's Sevens game in Langford, B.C., on Saturday.

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Marsh warned against entering the floodwaters, which contain sewage, chemicals and other contaminants. On Friday the water started to recede and an evacuation order for 54 homes was lifted in the afternoon. "There are big cat fish around there, we do see them in the lake quite often". A sinkhole also appeared next to another neighbour's home.

RDKB emergency officials along with agency partners from the Province of BC and power utilities surveyed the entire region by air on Friday to begin to assess damage from the historic flood that has now devastated homes and properties across large areas from the west Boundary to Christina Lake.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen said in a news release that residents of Hedley, the village of Keremeos, and those living along the banks of the Similkameen River should prepare for an imminent evacuation order, and people with medical conditions, mobility issues, and those with livestock or animals should evacuate immediately.

The regional district says some dykes failed when overtopped by floodwaters and crews are repairing them in priority sequences, as well as pumping water from low-lying neighbourhoods close to the dyke breaches.

While electricity has been restored, Fortis B.C. personnel are surveying large areas that are still without gas.

The councillor described the city of about 4,000 people as "traumatized".

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