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Ice jam causes flooding in basements for Six-Mile residents, Snowfall Warning issued for region

Several residents in the Lower Six-Mile area experienced flooding due to an ice jam in Duhamel Creek. — Submitted photos

A potential disaster may have been averted after some residents of the Lower Six-Mile area, north of Nelson, experienced flooding in their basements Tuesday due to an ice jam in Duhamel Creek that caused water to rise.

“Quite a few folks’ basements have flooded and this morning the lower (Six-Mile) road had a huge ice pond and stream running across it,” a reader told The Nelson Daily Tuesday.

“Apparently it happened once before about 30 years ago.”

Local government officials, including the Regional District of Central Kootenay, were alerted Tuesday by residents of the flooding problems with the Duhamel Creek.

Later in the afternoon, a machine was brought in to break up the ice below the bridge on Lower Six-Mile Road to allow the creek to flow freely and the water to subside.

"The RDCK worked with our partners at the Province, and with qualified environmental professionals to remove an ice jam that had developed during the recent cold weather on the lower reaches of Duhamel Creek," an emailed statement from the RDCK said Wednesday.

"A number of homes in the area were experiencing basement flooding from groundwater as a result of the elevated levels in the creek caused by the ice blockages, and a large pool of water had formed across Lower Six Mile Road."

The RDCK said by approximately 5:30 p.m. work broke up the last of the ice that appeared to be causing the water to dam which quickly lowered the levels in the creek by a couple feet or more.

"Residents that were experiencing flooding reported the pumps they were using in their basements were suddenly able to catch up with the inflows, and the large pool of water that was growing down Six Mile Road dried up," the RDCK said, adding the team was on scene until 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Sub-zero temperatures and recent snowstorms have created the potential for ice jams on many rivers and creeks in the province.

Most of the southern interior of BC, including the West Kootenay, has been hammered by snow, with some places seeing upwards of 60-80 cm following a storm into Monday.

Environment Canada issued another Snowfall Warning for West Kootenay, Boundary, Arrow and Slocan Lakes, and Kootenay Lake regions with 25 to 40 cm for Paulson Summit to Kootenay Pass and 20 to 30 cm for the West Kootenay.

Environment Canada said an intense winter storm is forecast to move into southeastern BC Wedensday evening and bring prolonged period of snowfall to the highway and regions.

"Heavy snow will begin tonight and continue for an extended period of time before easing to flurries Friday morning . . . and Friday evening for Highway 3."

Environment Canada said is advising the public to postpone any non-essential travel until conditions improve.

For road information use the DriveBC website.

The RDCK said crews will be out Wednesday morning to Lower Six-Mile Road to assess if any additional work needs to be completed.

Lower Six-Mile Road saw water flowing onto the pavement causing a icy mess Tuesday.

Local government officials attended to assess the damage and bring in equipment to break up the ice jam in Duhamel Creek Tuesday.

Editor's Note: This story was updated Wednesday with coments from the Regional District of Central Kootenay.