Report Heavy rainfall ahead in parts of BC could contribute to flooding and mudslides Environment Canada says

More rain is expected for Cache Creek and the Okanagan Indian Band territory, already hit by flooding

Heavy rainfall is expected in parts of British Columbia Friday as flooding and mudslides have prompted evacuation orders and highway closures in the province’s southern Interior.

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement Thursday alerting residents of heavy rain starting Friday afternoon and into Saturday night, which could contribute to flooding and mudslides.

The weather agency says rainfall on the melting snowpack could exacerbate existing flooding and lead to new flooding and mudslides. 

The special weather statement is in effect for Central Okanagan, South Okanagan, West Kootenay, Kootenay Lake and Highway 3-Paulson Summit to Kootenay Pass.

The B.C. government has said conditions in areas that are currently flooding, including Cache Creek and the Okanagan Indian Band territory, were expected to deteriorate, while “moderate flooding” was likely in Grand Forks starting Friday.

“Unfortunately, it is likely that some of these communities are going to see conditions get worse in the immediate short term before they get better,” Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma said Thursday.

Sandbags and other barriers have been deployed to communities that are at risk, Ma said.

She said the province is aware of seven evacuation orders and six evacuation alerts across B.C., but warns that “it is a dynamic situation that is quickly evolving.”

The number of properties under evacuation order in Cache Creek rose to 13 from five on Wednesday.

A mudslide forced the closure of an 80-kilometre stretch of Highway 3 between Salmo and Creston, which re-opened late afternoon on Thursday, according to DriveBC.

A stretch of the Kootenay Pass on Highway 3 was also closed in both directions about 15 kilometres east of Salmo due to flooding. It has since opened to single-lane alternating traffic, DriveBC said early Thursday evening. An update is expected Friday morning.

Photo Coffee Creek Wildfire.
The Coffee Creek widlfire burning northeast of Fort St. John, B.C., temporarily closed Highway 97 on May 3, 2023. (Bill McLeod )

Officials are also monitoring a number of wildfires burning across the province. 

Cliff Chapman, director of provincial operations for the B.C. Wildfire Service, said crews have been working around the clock to tackle 55 fires that are currently burning, and they’re ready for what’s to come.

He told a news conference on Thursday that 131 fires have been recorded in B.C. since January, a little higher than the 10-year average, but that the burned area is less than half the average.

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