2 still missing in B.C. Interior as weather offers brief break from flooding

A break in the weather is giving residents of Interior B.C. a brief break from weekend flooding, but two men are still missing and presumed dead, and officials are worried the situation may worsen again later in the week.

More rain expected later in the week; 2 men from Tappen and Cache Creek missing, presumed dead

Crews near Grand Forks, B.C., hope sandbags are enough to keep rising flood waters from damaging properties. (Alan Stanley)

UPDATED

On Saturday May 13, 2017, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary cancelled states of local emergencies for:

  • Christina Lake.
  • Grand Forks.
  • Midway.
  • Rock Creek.
  • Westbridge.
  • Beaverdell.
  • All Regional District of Kootenay Boundary electoral areas.

A state of emergency remains in place for the community of Greenwood.


A break in the weather is giving residents of B.C.'s southern Interior temporary respite from weekend flooding, but two men are still missing and presumed dead, and officials are worried the situation may worsen again later in the week.

Floodwaters began to recede Sunday in some parts of the province as rainfall eased, but many areas are still on high alert, and more rain is expected in the days ahead.

Cache Creek Fire Chief Clayton Cassidy went missing Friday while checking water levels. A 75-year-old man, Roy Frederick Sharp, from Tappen is also thought to have died after a home was swept away in a mudslide.

States of emergency still in effect

States of emergency are still in effect in Grand Forks, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Lumby and Fintry Delta.

More than 350 people are out of their homes in Kelowna due to evacuation orders, with more added near midnight on Sunday. About 250 people are on evacuation alert on Lower Nicola Indian Band land, west of Merritt. Several areas in the Thomson-Nicola Regional District are also under evacuation order or alert.

Mudslides and washouts have restricted traffic on numerous highways throughout the province, including Highway 1 east of Salmon Arm and east of Rogers Pass; Highway 8 west of Merritt; and Highway 97A near Sicamous. Highway 97D is closed in both directions near Logan Lake, southwest of Kamloops.

Likely more to come

Kirsten Jones, spokeperson for the Central Okanagan Regional District's emergency operations centre, said seasonal flooding is not uncommon in the Interior, but high rainfall and unusually warm temperatures have combined to create current conditions.

"We reached 27 degrees a couple weeks ago, so we saw a lot of snowpack melt, and everything just came rushing down," she said.

Jones said the concern is not just with the sheer volume of water, but with the debris it carries down with it, such as rocks and uprooted trees that can clog culverts and damage bridges.

While a few days of warm weather will help to dry things out, Jones says her team is getting prepared for what the week may bring when the weather changes.

"The sun is a good thing for drying up what has flooded," Jones said. "But it's also going to heat up that snowpack. And then follow that with rain — you know, it makes us a little nervous."

Alan Stanley, of the emergency operations centre in Grand Forks, near the American border south of the Okanagan, said his region's situation was much the same.

"[Sunday] was more about preparation — get the sandbags in place and continue to encourage people to be safe around the moving water, to be prepared to look at their situations," he said.

With files from CBC Radio One's Daybreak South.

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