WATCH: A worst-case scenario of heavy snowpack, warm weather, and torrential rain have left entire neighbourhoods, businesses, and town centres under water and forced thousands from their homes. April Lawrence reports.
There are flood warnings and watches in effect for several parts of B.C. including the Bulkley Valley near Smithers, as well as the Okanagan and Boundary regions.
In Beaverdell, the fast-moving water turned farmland into rivers, pastures into lakes, and property owners scrambling as water poured into their homes
“It’s in the crawl space coming in there, so all power’s been shut off,” said Beaverdell homeowner Debbie Hachey.
Warm weather and heavy rain have caused the Kettle River to spill its banks, causing catastrophic flooding in communities next to it, including Beaverdell and Grand Forks.
“We have the biggest flood, it’s over the 1948 flood levels by 60 centimetres or two feet, this is a historic event,” said Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Information Officer Frances Maika.
The community of 4000 was completely underwater Friday. Vehicles drove cautiously along Highway 3 through downtown, which remained open but under a travel advisory.
Thousands have been ordered to leave their homes, and the entire town is without power after the substation flooded, creating a dangerous situation for some residents.
“We have people who because they were pumping, the power went out and they’re now trapped in their homes, so we have ongoing rescues of a number of residents who choose to stay in their homes,” said Maika.
In the South Okanagan, Osoyoos has seen flood waters rise, forcing the evacuation of some hotels along the lake.
Okanagan Falls saw the worst of its flooding Thursday. On Friday the water started to recede and an evacuation order for 54 homes was lifted in the afternoon.
And in the Similkameen Valley, flooding in the Keremeos started to ease Friday, allowing one of the main routes to the interior, the Hope-Princeton highway, to reopen.
The province has shipped two million sandbags to the communities at risk.
As the water eased slightly, officials warn summer-like weather forecast for the next week, means more flooding is likely.
Not only are officials expecting further flooding in areas already hit like the Grand Forks and Similkameen areas but they say other critical areas to watch next week include Kelowna, Vernon, the Shuswap, and places along the Fraser River, like Mission, Hope and Prince George.