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High Kettle River keeps six evacuation orders, nine alerts for rural Grand Forks in place

Water is receding from Beatrice Road in Johnson Flats near Grand Forks, but six properties will remain on evacuation order until damage is assessed and access safely restored.

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is monitoring river levels for the next 48 hours to ensure conditions are safe before Beatrice Street residents in Johnson Flats near Grand Forks can return to their homes.

Six properties on evacuation order and one on alert in Johnson Flats and eight properties on evacuation alert in Manly Meadows in rural Grand Forks will remain in place for now.

 Current river forecasts show the Kettle River remaining at a one- to two-year return level, or typical freshet level, for the next number of days. Unsettled weather is forecast to continue, with patchy rain ranging from none to 10 millimetres, with rainfall possibly exceeding that in some locations. The river will remain high, and vulnerable to rising if rain exceeds forecasts.

 The RDKB is now working on a re-entry plan for those residents who had to leave their homes in the early hours of May 19 due to encroaching water from the Kettle River into Johnson Flats. Several residents have remained in their homes.

 “We are aware that it’s extremely stressful and disruptive, especially during this pandemic, to be asked to leave your home,“ said Mark Stephens, EOC Director.

Stephens said the EOC is working with RDKB building officials to assess possible damage to two homes, and with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure who will repair damage to Beatrice Street, as well as damage to Manly Meadows Road where eight properties remain on evacuation alert due to their access threatened by the Kettle River.

 “Our goal is to return residence safely to their homes as quickly as possible and we are working hard to make this happen.”

 The RDKB continues to monitor all creeks and rivers and track BC River Forecast Centre model is maintaining its Emergency Operations Centre at a Level 2 in preparation for any emergency response that may be required.

 The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) encourages residents to monitor low-lying areas for potential impacts from rising groundwater with some flooding as we move into the weekend

 The High Streamflow Advisory issued by BC River Forecast Centre on May 6 remains in effect for the Boundary Region including the Kettle River, West Kettle River, Granby River and tributaries.

Sandbags and sand are currently available for residents in the following locations free of charge:

  • Beaverdell behind the Fire Hall
  • Westbridge Hall
  • Riverside Centre in Rock Creek
  • Grand Forks Arena

 Residents must bring their own tools and equipment (shovels, transportation) and respect a physical distance of two metres (six feet) between workers as they fill sandbags.

 Residents in the Boundary who are most 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 also asks everyone to stay well away from the edges of creeks and rivers as banks become unstable during high water.

 For more information about snow and river levels as well as how to prepare for the 2020 freshet, visit emergency.rdkb.com.

 To register for the RDKB Emergency Alerting System go to https://ca.voyent-alert.com/vras/user-registration.html. The RDKB warns everyone to stay away from the edges of watercourses and report any erosion or flooding to the Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre at 1-800-663-3456.

 The RDKB will continue to update the public as new information is available.