Flooding forces evacuation alerts

Evacuation orders were lifted Saturday for several communities in British Columbia's Rocky Mountains, but states of emergency remained in place as the trio of communities near the Alberta boundary coped with the same conditions that caused devastating flooding in Calgary.

Emergency Info BC said residents of Elkford should be prepared to leave their homes should rain return and the Elk River rise, however a reception centre that had been set up on Thursday was closed and it appeared the worst threat had passed.

Elkford Mayor Dean McKerracher said some businesses had to be evacuated at the peak of flooding.

"Water actually came over the river banks by the Elk River Bridge and started to flood that area, so we only had a couple hours to get the people in here and get the stuff out they wanted," McKerracher told a Vancouver radio station.

While the river level had receded, he said the town was expecting more rain overnight and Sunday, and the river was being monitored around the clock.

Another evacuation order was issued Friday night by the regional district of East Kootenay due to flooding in the area of Hosmer, near Fernie. The town declared a state of emergency Friday morning, but by Saturday the water levels had stabilized.

RCMP and Search and Rescue volunteers evacuated a trailer park and surrounding residents after high water breached part of the dike along the Lower Hosmer river.

And an evacuation alert was lifted Saturday for areas of Sparwood, located between Fernie and Elkford on the eastern edge of the Kootenay region.

Terry Melcer, the town's chief administrative officer, said water levels had dropped in Michel and Cummings Creek overnight, but some areas remained closed until crews could confirm they safe for residents to return.

"Water levels remain high and the banks are particularly unsafe, as erosion underneath, not visible from the top of bank may have occurred," Melcer said in a statement posted to the town website.

A local state of emergency declared on Thursday remained in effect, but the region was not hit nearly as hard as nearby southern Alberta, where the provincial government estimated about 100,000 people were affected by flooding.


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