The forecast for the East Kootenay region was upgraded from flood watch to a flood warning in the B.C. River Forecast Centre’s most recent provincial update issued yesterday (June 26) at 5:30 p.m.
Several homes on Wasa Lake were affected by flooding yesterday, according to a Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) report, and the community was preparing sandbags as of last night.
“Last night we dropped off 2000 sandbags and 2 loads of sand at the Community Hall, and both the sandbags and sand were already gone by this morning,” say RDEK Information Officer, Loree Duczek. “We have an additional 1500 sandbags and a load of sand being delivered this morning and will continue to deliver more supplies if needed.”
Last night, 10 forestry workers worked until late into the evening filling and placing sandbags. A crew of 15 is in the community today, stated the report. Yesterday, the lake was rising at a rate of about 1” per hour through the day as heavy rainfall battered the East Kootenay. This morning, the lake level is up by about 3”. Sandbags are available to anyone in the community near the water who could be affected if the waters continue to rise.
“From sandbagging to moving valuables and other belongings out of flood prone areas, now is the time to take steps to prepare if your property could be affected by rising waters,” said Duczek.
Significant rainfall occurred in the region yesterday and rapid river level rises were expected last night and into the early morning today. Some valley residents have experienced flooding in their basements while green space at both Windermere and Kinsman beaches have also been flooded.
The RDEK and Ministry of Environment are continuing to monitor water levels in Wasa and other parts of the East Kootenay region.
A flood warning means river levels have exceeded bankfull — or will exceed bankfull imminently — and that flooding of areas adjacent to the rivers affected will result, while flood watch means river levels are rising and will approach or may exceed bankfull with areas adjacent to affected rivers possibly flooding.
The provincial government is warning the public about the hazards of flood water. While over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water, the next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters.