NEWS

B.C. Rain Brings Flooding, Mudslides, Highway Closures

06/07/2012 04:07 EDT | Updated 08/07/2012 05:12 EDT

Several days of heavy rain have washed out roads and is now threatening to flood several communities across the Interior of B.C.

On Thursday evening, the City of Prince George declared a local emergency encompassing one neighbourhood, and issued evacuation orders to 17 residences.

The B.C. River Forecast Centre issued a flood warning for the Fraser River in Prince George and upstream after up to 75 millimetres of rain soaked the region over the past two days.

"River levels at South Fort George are expected to reach flood stage late on Thursday night or early on Friday morning, and are expected to peak around midday on Friday at 9.7 to 9.9 metres. Flows are expected to recede later on Friday and into Saturday," said the advisory.

The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George has also been closely monitoring flood prone-areas and conditions are expected to worsen, according to spokeswoman Donna Munt.

"We have seen that the Fraser at McBride has peaked, and we anticipate it will make it to areas we have concern within about a day and a half."

Munt says they're also paying close attention to the Foreman Flats, Shelley and Sinclair Mills areas, and residents have been advised to be prepared for possible flooding.

Evacuation underway

The rain has created problems in Crawford Bay north of Nelson, where a creek that backed up is putting so much pressure on a dike that hydrologists are worried it's going to burst.

Fourteen homes and businesses have been evacuated including the only bank in town, according to Bill Macpherson, the spokesperson for the regional district.

In addition, Highway 3A out of Crawford Bay has washed out and there's not much confidence it'll re-open any time soon.

An evacuation alert has also been issued to some residents of Sims Creek in the Shuswap Regional District because of concerns about the heavy mud and logs debris in the creek.

The alert applies to residents of "Sundance Road and the portion of Cambie Solsqua Road between Payne Road and including 2048 Cambie Solsqua Road," said the alert.

Ferries and highway closures

The high water levels have also forced officials to shut down of some ferries over the Fraser River, including the Lytton and Big Bar ferries.

Several highways have also been closed because of washouts and mudslides, including:

- Highway 3A, 15 km east of the Kootenay Bay Ferry landing until Friday.

- Highway 16, 73 km east of Prince George.

Flood watches are also in place for:

- Liard River at Lower Crossing.

- Monashees, including Eagle River, Shuswap River, Sicamous and surrounding area tributaries.

- West Kootenay.

- East Kootenay.

- Columbia including Illecillewaet, Kicking Horse and surrounding rivers.

- Peace Region.

- Northern Rocky Mountains.

High stream flood advisories remain in place for:

- South Interior

- South Thompson tributaries

- Okanagan-Kettle

- North Thompson River