WITH evolving flood conditions throughout B.C., the Province is continuing to help communities prepare for potential flooding.
B.C.’s Interior is expecting hot weather with accelerating snowmelt anticipated through Friday, May 5, followed by heavy rainfall and thundershowers that same day and through Saturday, May 6. Based on forecasts from the River Forecast Centre, conditions in areas that are currently flooding, including Cache Creek and Okanagan Indian Band territory, are expected to deteriorate over the coming days.
Moderate flooding areas are expected to expand, particularly in the Central Interior and Okanagan from Wednesday, May 3, until Friday, May 5. Moderate flooding is likely in Grand Forks starting on Friday. Into the weekend, significant flood hazard is expected throughout small and medium-sized watersheds in the Central Interior, Okanagan, Boundary and Southern Kootenays.
People in affected regions should take precautions to ensure personal safety, including developing a household plan, putting together emergency kits, connecting with neighbours and learning about the local government emergency response plan for their area.
The Province maintains a stockpile of sandbags, which are being deployed to First Nations and local governments to protect homes and public infrastructure, and has deployed flood assets, such as gabions, tiger dam and sandbags to at-risk communities, including Grand Forks, Cache Creek and Okanagan Indian Band territory.
The Province annually delivers sandbags to communities to be prepared for freshet (flooding caused by heavy rain or snowmelt). In 2023, the provincial government has deployed more than 200,000 sandbags to communities, and local governments and First Nations will have up-to-date information about where people can pick up sandbags.
The Province is sending provincial watershed experts to areas of concern and is holding regular co-ordination calls to assist communities with preparedness and activation of emergency plans.
The River Forecast Centre is monitoring weather patterns and river conditions, and remains vigilant watching for changes that could contribute to increased flood hazard. The River Forecast Centre website has updated flood warning and advisory notifications, including a map of areas of heightened flood risk.
The levels of warnings and advisories for flood risk are:
* High streamflow advisory: River levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly, but no major flooding is expected. Minor flooding in low-lying areas is possible.
* Flood watch: River levels are rising and may overflow.
* Flood warning: River levels have flooded or will flood imminently.
First Nations and local governments often have the most up-to-date information. People should visit their local government and First Nation websites and follow their social media accounts to stay informed.
Depending on the severity of the situation, an evacuation alert or order may be issued. People must follow the advice and direction of local authorities.
* Evacuation alert: Be ready to leave on short notice, including having a grab-and-go bag prepared for each household member with essentials they’ll need if asked to evacuate.
* Evacuation order: Leave the area immediately; people in the area are at risk. Local governments or First Nations will provide information about where to go and how to receive emergency support services.
* Tactical evacuation: Tactical evacuations are often co-ordinated by the RCMP or local police with assistance from other agencies and occur when a sudden threat to life requires immediate action.
* Evacuation rescinded: It is safe and people can return home.
Under an evacuation order, only travel to support locations designated by the Indigenous governing body or local government. Supports will not be available at a non-designated location.
For information about preparing for a flood or protecting people and homes, review the PreparedBC’s Flood Preparedness Guide, which has information about what to do if a home or community is at risk of flooding.
In 2022, the Province expanded its use of Alert Ready to issue broadcast intrusive alerts on behalf of communities to warn British Columbians of imminent threats due to flooding. The Province also launched a digital registration system for Emergency Support Services to provide Interac e-Transfer to people who pre-register.
Flood-risk information and active evacuation alerts and orders can be found at @emergencyinfoBC on Twitter, or: https://www.emergencyinfobc.
River Forecast Centre: http://bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/
PreparedBC Flood Preparedness Guide: www.preparedbc.ca/floods
For tips about how to prepare grab-and-go bags, visit: www.preparedbc.ca/emergencykit
To pre-register with Emergency Support Services, visit: https://ess.gov.bc.ca/
Floodwaters can quickly wash out roads and bridges. Be prepared and plan an alternative route. For the latest road conditions, visit: http://www.drivebc.ca