BC's Okanagan prepares for record flooding as residents try to protect homes

Bruno Cirelli
Mag 13, 2017

British Columbia's Okanagan region is bracing for a storm that Kelowna's mayor worries could unleash the worst flooding the region has ever seen.

The Central Okanagan Regional District has issued lake level flood watch maps for waterfront areas of Kelowna, West Kelowna and the Westbank First Nation. "Residents in low-lying areas and near creeks and lakes that may be susceptible to flooding should continue efforts to protect their property from potential flood damage".

"A combination of rain and spring snow melt over the next few days will lead to rising water levels, likely to peak later (Thursday) and will increase the risk of flooding", the release said.

"Our cup is full, the bucket is full, there's really nowhere more for the rain to go except over creek banks and up onto people's properties along our lakes", he said.

Basran warned that many people could be displaced in the hours and days ahead and urged residents in unaffected neighbourhoods to consider taking in friends or family who have been forced from their homes.

Storms packing as much as 60 millimetres of rain are expected over the northwest while Environment Canada said 90 millimetres of rain is forecast in the Peace and Fort Nelson regions, followed by as much as 15 millimetres on Saturday. A release this morning says authorities monitored creeks and streams of concern and we came through fine.

CORD Emergency is encouraging residents to prepare by making 72-hour emergency kits, being ready to leave at a moment's notice and arranging accommodation and to move any disabled persons and children - as well as pets and livestock - to a safe area.

Flood watches have also been posted for the Bulkley River in northwestern B.C., and for waterways through the northeastern corner of the province.

The River Forecast Centre has posted flood watches for many rivers, creeks and streams, from the Boundary region all the way north to the Central Interior, Thompson and Shuswap.

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