NEWS

Kootenay rain triggers local emergency declarations

07/04/2012 11:41 EDT | Updated 09/03/2012 05:12 EDT
Heavy rain continues to cause problems in B.C's Kootenay region, where local states of emergency are now in effect for areas around Creston, Ymir, and the Slocan Valley — but there may be an end in sight for the rain-soaked region.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay says heavy rain has saturated the retaining walls of an old tailings pond that is now being used as a landfill, and they are now beginning to fall apart.

Spokesperson Bill McPherson says continued wet weather means they haven't been able to fix the walls, and a geo-technician is keeping an eye on the situation. The tailings pond used to be part of the Hudson's Bay mine.

Last month was the rainiest June on record in much of the southern Interior of B.C., according to meteorologist Ron Lakeman.

The most precipitation fell in the West Kootenay, where the weather station in Castlegar recorded 227 millimetres of rain, doubling the old June record of 117 millimetres.

"It was phenomenally wet. It is typical for June to have a number of weather systems to come through with significant precipitation, but this June it was almost an endless procession of systems," said Lakeman.

Kelowna, Penticton and much of the East Kootenay also broke records. In Nelson, it was so wet officials cancelled Canada Day fireworks and in Castlegar the entire birthday celebration was postponed because of rain.

Doug Lundquist with Environment Canada says June is generally rainy in the Interior, but this was exceptional.

"We do have our monsoonal season. We tend to get thunderstorms in early summer and we can get extensive rain. It was June on steroids for sure."

Much of northern B.C. and the South Coast also got a lot of rain in June, but not record-setting amounts, he says.

But Lundquist says it's over now and he is forecasting a transition into more seasonal summer sunshine and heat.

Several Fraser Valley communities lifted evacuations alerts for unprotected areas along the banks of the Lower Fraser River on Tuesday, saying the water level is receding and the fear of flooding is over.

MORE:cbcNews