RDEK flood watch update
The BC River Forecast Centre (RFC) has downgraded the FLOOD WARNING for the Elk Valley and the FLOOD WATCH for the rest of the East Kootenay to a HIGH STREAMFLOW ADVISORY.
It has also ended the FLOOD WATCH for the Upper Columbia, which includes tributaries around Invermere and Radium.
The RFC reports that total precipitation over the past day across the region was in the 20-30mm range in most areas, with pockets of 30-60mm observed in areas around Sparwood and Elko.
Temperatures dropped significantly, with reduced snowmelt rates and some precipitation falling as snow at mid-to-high elevations.
Rivers are experiencing lower levels than forecasted yesterday. In some areas, flows remain high.
Additional rainfall is in the longer-range forecast. This, combined with anticipated warmer temperatures, means water levels could continue to rise in the coming days as we see additional snowmelt and added precipitation.
The Regional Emergency Operations Centre (REOC) remains active in support of the RDEK Flood Response Unit, City of Fernie EOC, District of Sparwood EOC and our other member municipalities and First Nations.
The RDEK’s Flood Response Unit was on the ground checking waterways in and around the Kootenay River, Wasa, Dutch Creek, Cold Spring Creek, Fairmont Creek, Windermere Creek, Cokato, Morrissey, and Hosmer. Most water levels remained relatively stable today, although they continue to run high.
Big Sand Creek in the Galloway area rose approximately one foot in the past 24 hours and a self-fill sandbag station has been set up in Jaffray.
The Evacuation ALERT remains in effect in the District of Sparwood (www.sparwood.ca) for the following areas:
• 100 Aspen Drive (Mountainview Mobile Home Park);
• 9555 Highway 43 (lower Lodgepole Mobile Home Park);
• Properties along GN Road;
• 1200 Matevic Road (lower Matevic).
The City of Fernie has placed gabion boxes along sections of Coal Creek near the confluence with the Elk and, with the assistance of the BC Wildfire Service crews today, continued to lay sandbags on the dike in West Fernie.
A number of parks and trails remain closed in Fernie. Visit www.fernie.ca for the full list.
Self-fill sandbag stations have been set up as follows:
Fernie – Railway Ave & Ridgemont Ave (next to TJs Autobody);
Fernie – Main Sewage Lift Stn parking lot off Mt. McLean Dr. at Mt. Trinity;
West Fernie – intersection of Riverside Dr. and McLeod Ave.;
Hosmer – empty lot south of the Elk River Inn;
Sparwood – Englemann Spruce Drive, past Mainroad Yard/Fire Hall #1;
Fairmont – Old barn by Mountainside Golf Clubhouse, Hot Springs Rd;
Cranbrook – Cobham Avenue by Public Works Yard;
Canal Flats – beside the village office/across from the fire hall;
Windermere – Fire Hall back parking lot;
Jaffray – beside the Community Hall;
Aqam – in the District Heat Building.
With the Elk River running high, BC Hydro is reminding recreational users to make safety a priority near Elko Dam. Water levels can change quickly and with little warning. Kayaking, rafting, fishing and swimming along the Elk River near Elko Dam is presently very dangerous and may result in injury or death. For your own safety and the safety of those with you, please obey all warning signs and stay out of restricted areas. Any use of these areas is at your own risk.
Residents who have not already registered for the Regional Evacuation Notification System (ENS), register HERE.
Everyone is urged to stay away from all waterways, creeks, rivers as conditions can change rapidly and banks can become unstable.
Residents who see or are experiencing flooding, are asked to call the 24-hour emergency line 250-489-9677.
We will continue to monitor conditions and provide updates as warranted. With the forecast calling for a rise in temperatures on Friday and precipitation through the weekend and into next week, residents are urged to continue to be aware and prepared as the potential for flooding will remain throughout this high-streamflow period.
e-KNOW file photo