British Columbia

Nechako River hits 200-year-high, floods Prince George again

The water level on the Nechako River in Prince George reached the highest level in 200 years over the weekend after a large chunk of ice shifted.

Water levels on the Nechako River reached their highest level in 200 years over the weekend after a large chunk of ice shifted creating new flooding in Prince George.

Many homes and businesses in the River Road and Pulp Mill Road areas were flooded for the second time this winter.

The flooding is a result of ice on the Nechako River and the nearby Fraser River blocking the normal flow of the rivers, affecting areas along the Nechako above the confluence of the two rivers.

Prince George spokesman Kevin Brown said the city has spent $1.5 million trying to prevent damage from the floods since the river first breached its banks and a local state of emergency was declared on Dec. 11.

"It's really starting to sink in that we are working and seeing something very unique, something never seen in Prince George before," said Brown on Sunday.

With 24 homes still under an evacuation order and crews continuing to pump water back into the Nechako over the weekend, Brown said city residents are starting to get used to the situation.

"If there isn't any water on the road or if there isn't ice buildup, if we're even able to get to work, that's a good day," said Brown.

"If people can get through a normal work day without any new flooding or concern about ice shifting on the river, I think that's how we define a normal day, at least — and probably will for the remainder of winter 2008."

But the new normal for workers at the Winton Global sawmill appears to be no work. The mill was expected to re-open Monday after it was flooded sometime around Dec. 12, but the 300 employees are staying home after it flooded again this weekend.