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Evacuation alert issued in B.C.


Rising waters force an evacuation order in Prince George
Rising waters force an evacuation order in Prince George

Andrea Stockton, staff writer

July 16, 2011 — Rising flood waters in B.C. washed out a highway near Dawson Creek and prompted evacuations in Prince George.

Some areas saw up to 80 mm of rain last week
Some areas saw up to 80 mm of rain last week

A low pressure system that developed over the Prairies late last week, brought heavy rain to parts of B.C. through the weekend. Some areas saw up to 80 mm of rain, which caused problems on local roads and highways.

A large washout on Highway 52 between Dawson Creek and Tumbler Ridge has engineers contemplating if they should install a bridge to allow traffic through.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says if crews decide to install the bridge, the highway could re-open in a matter of days. Motorists are encouraged to take Highway 29 to access either community for the time being.

Meanwhile, a local state of emergency was declared in Prince George, where the Fraser River was rising. Officials were forced to issue an evacuation order over the weekend for residents living along the river bank.

That order was lifted on Tuesday and people were allowed to return home. However, they've been told to be ready to leave again if necessary. Authorities are monitoring the water levels hourly and the river is expected to rise through the weekend once again.

Businesses and homes alike have been affected by the flooding
Businesses and homes alike have been affected by the flooding

The high water levels are also having an impact on businesses in the region.

“Twice in two weeks is a bit much,” says Jean Harcourt, owner of Dawson Creek's Peace Country Automotive. “The actual flooding affecting our business happened July 9. Our roads and bridges were flooded and finally the water became so high it flooded to about a foot at the door of our business.”

That forced Harcourt to move equipment from the affected sites and put sandbags by all the doors. Fortunately, Harcourt hasn't suffered any financial loss.

City crews and residents continue to put flood protection measures in place as more unsettled weather is expected through the weekend.

With files from Sana Ahmed

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