Canadian Underwriter

Rainfall warnings lifted in flooded B.C. Kootenay region

June 27, 2012   by Canadian Underwriter

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Rainfall warnings for a number of areas within British Columbia’s Kootenay region — which had already been dealing with the effects of rapid snowmelt and wet conditions over the past two or three weeks — ended in the early morning hours of June 27.

Environment Canada lifted warnings for Elk Valley, East Kootenay (north, including Invermere), East Kootenay (south, including Cranbrook), Kootenay Lake and West Kootenay. As of June 26, weather conditions that had caused flooding were improving – although an estimated 20 to 35 mm of rain had fallen in East Kootenay over six to eight hours earlier that day, and an additional 25 mm was expected throughout the evening.

Media reports indicate that almost 700 people across the province have been evacuated in anticipation of flooding, some remain on evacuation alert, a mudslide wiped out a dam north of Nelson, and cars and homes have been damaged during flash floods.

Information from the Insurance Corporation of B.C. notes that if a person has comprehensive or specified perils coverage, damage to his or her vehicle caused by rising floodwaters is covered. The coverage applies if the person lives in an area that is under an emergency evacuation alert, notice or order due to flooding.

British Columbia’s Ministry of Justice and Attorney General is advising people to take care near floodwaters. Among other things, never underestimate the force and power of water, and take note that a mere six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult, notes a ministry statement.

An evacuation order applying to all occupied dwellings in the Swansea Point Subdivision area was rescinded, although it remained in effect for residents of Two Mile Area.

The B.C. River Forecast Centre expects levels for the Lower Fraser River will peak this week before receding on the weekend and into next week. “Typically, it takes six days for water from rain and snowmelt in these headwaters to travel down to the Lower Fraser Valley. Due to heavier rain across the Fraser River tributaries, another pulse of water is expected to travel downstream through this week,” notes a high streamflow advisory.