NEWS

Flood watch underway in central B.C. Interior

05/23/2013 10:16 EDT | Updated 07/23/2013 05:12 EDT
Several communities in B.C.’s central Interior are watching for signs of flooding after days of heavy rain.

The B.C. River Forecast Centre is maintaining high streamflow advisories for the following regions:

- Chilcotin.

- Central Interior, including the Nicola River and surrounding areas around Merritt through to Lytton.

- Thompson Region, including the Salmon, Shuswap, and Eagle rivers and surrounding areas from Kamloops to Vernon.

- Okanagan including Mission Creek.

- Boundary, including the Kettle and Granby rivers.

Residents living near Nicola Lake in low-lying areas in Merritt are being warned to prepare for rising water levels.

"Residents next to the lake should expect some shoreline flooding. The public is advised to prepare for possible flooding of low-lying areas by moving equipment and other assets from these areas to higher ground, where possible," said a B.C. government statement.

"During periods of high flow, river banks may be unstable and more prone to sudden collapse. The public is advised to stay well away from the banks of fast flowing streams and flooded areas or bridges. Young children and pets can be at particular risk during this period."

The City of Merritt is planning to place sand-bags in low-lying areas Thursday as a precaution.

People in the area are also being advised to take extra measures to protect their property from water infiltration in pipes and basements as a result of groundwater seepage.

- Read more on how to prepare for a flood

"Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot anybody can do when most of it's groundwater,” Kronebusch said.

“When it's flowing water we can try and control the flow with use of sandbags on the surface, but when it's just groundwater, it just comes up everywhere — you can't predict where it's going, and you can't sandbag against it."

Flooding impacts highways, fruit trees

The rain is expected to continue in many areas through the weekend.

In the Nakusp area, a landslide hit Highway 6 west of the junction with Highway 23, reducing the road to single-lane alternating traffic. It's not clear when the debris might be cleared from the road.

The advisory has ended for the Similkameen River but there are still worries about high water levels in the Okanagan.

"That's causing some concerns in the rural area of Oliver and Osoyoos,” said Dale Kronebusch with the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen.

“It's starting to cause some grief ... around some of the farms and some of the property owners that are adjacent to that. They're flooding out and people are actually — I'm not sure for sure that they're losing them but they're starting to indicate that they're losing some fruit trees and that things are just not going to be able to survive the severe flooding that is happening for them."

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