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State of emergency remains in place in Prince George, BC


Staff writers

June 9, 2012 — Flood watches and evacuation alerts have been issued in the British Columbia Interior. Rain and melting snow have rivers running high and fast.

Properties to be evacuated (Courtesy: City of Prince George)
Properties to be evacuated (Courtesy: City of Prince George)

The city of Prince George declared a state of emergency this week, covering the areas of Farrell Street, Houston Lane and Lower Lansdowne Road.

Evacuation alerts were issued for 17 homes in the area.

City officials are optimistic for the coming days. Spokeswoman Chris Bone said the Fraser River crested at around 9.7 m in the early morning hours, and is now slowly subsiding.

However, she added the waters are expected to remain at around flood levels for some time, even though they will be dropping.

"We're happy the water level is receding, but we're also aware that it's likely to rise again, because we have a significant snow pack, and as the snow begins to melt through the month of June, we're expecting that river will continue on its path of rising and falling," Bone said.

She added the city does not expect to rescind the state of emergency and evacuation orders until Monday at the very earliest.

The Prince George City Hall Annex has been turned into a reception centre and will be used for those who require any food or shelter.

Some rain-swollen rivers began to recede on Friday, but others are on the rise.

As of Saturday, The B.C. River Forecast Centre had flood warnings issued for the Liard and Upper Fraser rivers. It also had flood watches in place for the Shuswap, Upper Columbia and North Thomson. A high streamflow advisory was in effect for the Fraser River from Quesnal to the ocean. 

Flooding waters in Mabel Lake, BC
Flooding waters in Mabel Lake, BC

Evacuation alerts were also in place for homes in low-lying areas in the Ashton Creek area of Enderby.

High water levels and debris have washed out roads in several places. On Thursday, single lane alternating traffic was restored to the Enderby Mabel Lake Road.

Residents in flood prone areas are being asked to pay attention to the alerts and take all necessary precautions. It is also recommended that people stay away from river banks as fast moving water may have caused some erosion.

On Wednesday, heavy rain resulted in a mudslide at Glacier Park, 60 km west of Golden. That forced officials to close the Trans-Canada Highway in both directions from Revelstoke to Golden.

Several bridges, trails and at least one campground at parks across the region have also been closed until further notice due to the significant rainfall.

The same low pressure system that's been impacting the region spawned four tornadoes in southern Alberta Tuesday night. Heavy rain has also caused flash flooding in some communities there.

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