British Columbia

Swollen rivers force evacuations in Cache Creek as flooding risk continues across B.C.

Around a dozen properties in Cache Creek, B.C., were ordered evacuated Sunday after days on flood watch, while hundreds of other properties in the village remain on evacuation alert.

Residents were ordered to leave Sunday night as Bonaparte River threatened to overflow

A member of a swift-water rescue team is pictured on the Bonaparte River in 2017. (Kamloops Search and Rescue/Facebook)

Around a dozen properties along a swollen river in Cache Creek, B.C., were ordered evacuated Sunday after days on flood watch, as flood warnings and watches remain in effect for about half the province.

Residents were ordered to leave home just after 5:30 p.m. PT as the Bonaparte River, northwest of Kamloops, threatened to overflow. The order came after an evacuation alert issued Saturday night, which affected about 300 homes.

"We wanted to be cautious and move them out of their homes along the river while it was still daylight," Cache Creek acting mayor Wendy Coomber told Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce.

Cache Creek Fire Chief Tom Moe toured the village on Sunday. He said the community, which has been prepared for flooding since May, has come to a standstill waiting for the river to drop.

"Pretty much anybody that's living along the river right now is on alert ... It's like a third of our town," Moe said Monday.

"I took a drive down there last night. The water hadn't really done too much there, there was some water on the ground but nothing too major that I could see," he added.

"The local park is totally flooded ... I kind of use that as a gauge of what the water's doing."

The river has been under its latest flood warning since Saturday. 

B.C.'s central Interior, including the Cache Creek area, has already been the subject of several flood warnings this season. Hundreds of properties were placed on evacuation alert earlier in the spring, again due to the threat of the Bonaparte River.

'People need to stay away'

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said he is getting daily updates on the flooding situation, including weather and streamflow information.

"People need to stay away. The rivers are not safe, the streams are not safe," Farnworth told reporters Monday.

He said local governments have been asked to update their emergency plans with COVID-19 in mind and he was "pleased and confident" with how they have responded.

High water and wet weather kept much of B.C. on flood watch over the weekend with mudslides, washouts and road closures hitting rural communities.

Nearly 100 properties in the Robson Valley were ordered evacuated or subject to a "shelter in place" order due to rising water and a mudslide in the McBride area, east of Prince George.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District said a mudslide caused largely by recent rains wiped out a water system that supplies water to about 500 people at Seymour Arm, located about 65 kilometres south of Salmon Arm.

The district said no one was hurt in the mudslide and crews were working to restore the water system. 

A bridge washout Saturday on Horsefly Road near the central B.C. community of Horsefly closed traffic in both directions.

The road closure, about 70 kilometres northeast of Williams Lake, was one of several reports of closures or detours due to flooding and high water.

B.C.'s River Forecast Centre has issued flood warnings for large areas along the province's major rivers, including the Fraser and South and North Thompson Rivers.

With files from Daybreak Kamloops, The Early Edition and The Canadian Press

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