Kootenay Lake flood alert
Jun 27, 2012 / 3:11 pm
As the flooding situation near Sicamous, B.C., improves, high water problems to the southeast of the province are getting worse.
The water level in Kootenay Lake has risen to its highest level in 40 years and many small rivers and streams in the area are rapidly rising.
Bill Macpherson from the Central Kootenay Regional District said the lake has risen five feet since June 1.
The water has forced the evacuation of one home and put residents at 60 other homes on evacuation alert.
"In those instances it's water over roads that could keep people isolated, so it's more precautionary than anything else," said Macpherson.
Highway 31 along the north end of Kootenay Lake has one lane open after road crews worked to mitigate flooding, which had earlier closed the route.
In Sicamous, only 25 homes remain under an evacuation order after devastating floods hit the area over the weekend.
The Shuswap Emergency Program rescinded the order for part of the Two Mile subdivision Tuesday night, just a few hours after residents in the Swansea Point area were allowed to return home.
At the peak, about 350 people were forced from their homes when a torrent of water washed through the community, burying vehicles and ripping a home from its foundation.
And while residents are returning, a 'do not consume' order is in effect for tap water from the Mara Lake system and residents are being warned not to use it for drinking, cooking or washing dishes because even boiling will not remove possible contaminants.
Highway 97A remains closed to travel three and eight kilometres south of Sicamous, with only emergency vehicles getting through at the eight-km mark.
The Canadian Red Cross is offering assistance to travellers caught in the floods in the Sicamous area and are assessing the needs of those stranded.
While water recedes in many areas of the Interior, much of that deluge is making its way down the Fraser River through B.C.'s Lower Mainland.
The B.C. River Forecast Centre said the river through the Fraser Valley has begun to rise, mostly because of heavy rainfall and a rapid snowmelt that occurred over the weekend in the Thompson area.
"Another pulse of water is expected to travel downstream through this week," the forecast centre warns. "A rise in river levels is expected over the next few days and levels are expected to reach their peak levels over the late-Thursday to Saturday period at Hope and the Friday to Sunday period around Mission and downstream."
Once that pulse has passed, the centre said water levels are expected to recede, unless more severe weather occurs.
Flood warnings, watches and advisories in other areas around the province largely remain the same with the exception of downgrading of situations at Prince George and Upstream, the Skeena and Bulkley rivers and Elk River in the East Kootenays.
If you have any video or photos of flooding in any area of the province please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
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