Jesse McCullough and Cass Hall fill sandbags at the Grand Forks arena on May 28, 2020. (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary declared a State of Local Emergency on May 29, anticipating possible flooding events across the Boundary region.

Temperatures across the Boundary are projected to be more than 10 degrees above average this weekend, and erratic thunderstorms could dump between 15 and 30 millimetres of rain across the Kettle River watershed. Together, the hot air and rainfall will accelerate snowmelt and possibly cause the river system to swell beyond its banks.

Considering the forecast, the BC River Forecast Centre issued a Flood Watch advisory for the Boundary region Thursday.

River flow forecast graphs for the region have dipped and climbed over the past week, as the weekend weather approaches. As of May 29, the west end of the Kettle River system near Westbridge is predicted to peak above 2018 levels, when low-lying properties in that region were damaged in a one in 100-year flood event.

As the Kettle flows east towards Grand Forks, however, a forecast graph from Ferry, Wash., indicates that the river will climb just slightly higher than it did last week. The Granby River, which flows into the Kettle at Grand Forks, is also projected to exceed 2018 levels, which could coincide with the Kettle’s peak as well.

The Kettle River has been running near its bank-full capacity for over a month, and at its latest crest on May 19 overran a damaged berm and flooded into the Grand Forks neighbourhood of Johnson Flats, affecting two structures and prompting an evacuation order to six properties in the area.

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) said Thursday that members of its flood response team have since looked at the berm, which was damaged in the 2018 flood, but currently have no plan to reinforce it before the next crest.

“We have already initiated operational preparations by bringing in Tiger Dam and flood response experts to our team and will start to place equipment to protect core communities and major infrastructure if more accurate flood predictions before the weekend show that needs to happen,” said Mark Stephens, RDKB emergency operations manager.

Sandbags are available to residents across the region, in Beaverdell, Westbridge, Rock Creek and Grand Forks.

Residents can follow regional district updates at emergency.rdkb.com.

“Anyone at risk of flooding should stay informed about local freshet conditions, and ensure they have considered plans for moving valuable items, livestock or other items to safe locations if required,” the RDKB said in a release Thursday.

Read more: Two more Johnson Flats properties given evacuation alerts

Read more: Six homes ordered to evacuate early Tuesday morning in Grand Forks due to flooding


@jensenedw
Jensen.edwards@grandforksgazette.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

flood watch

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Overall house sales drop in the northwest

COVID-19 pandemic slowed market activity

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

The franchise was given the name back in 1933, when it was still in Boston

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Most Read