Evacuation order issued for six properties near Grand Forks, B.C., after weekend rainfall

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Accure weather

An evacuation order has been issued for a handful of properties near Grand Forks in B.C.’s West Kootenay region after last weekend’s heavy rain.

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary issued the order early Tuesday for six properties in Johnson Flats, saying the swollen Kettle River cut off access to a cluster of homes on Beatrice Road and may have damaged structures.

Officials made the decision at 1:30 a.m., when the river breached an illegally constructed berm.

No one has been injured, the regional district said, although several of the 15 affected residents have chosen to stay at home.

“It’s always distressing for anyone who has to leave their homes on short notice,” said Mark Stephens, director of the emergency operations centre.

“We are are doing everything we can as a regional district to address the needs these families will have over the coming week until they can return home.”

Volunteers with the Canadian Red Cross will support those residents while officials assess the situation, he added.

Two more homes in nearby Manly Meadows were also placed on evacuation alert, bringing the total in that area on alert to nine.

Flood levels for 2020 may seem typical, the district said, but 2018’s catastrophic flooding in the reigon altered flow patterns in the Kettle River and eroded some areas that may not have seen flooding at existing levels before.

Water levels in the West Kettle, Kettle and Granby rivers, however, are not forecast to surpass a two- to five-year return level, it added.

The high streamflow advisory issued by B.C. River Forecast Centre on May 6 is remains in effect for the Boundary region. Sandbags are available to residents in these locations free of charge:

Beaverdell behind the Fire Hall

Westbridge Hall

Riverside Centre in Rock Creek

Grand Forks Arena

Residents must bring their own tools and respect physical distancing when filling sandbags, the district said.

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