A drone view of Highway 97 at McLeese Lake previously when crews were busy keeping the road open in spite of flooding last week. (Steven Kaufman photo)

People need to stay away from all waterway banks in the Cariboo region: CRD Chair

Margo Wagner said most river and creek banks have been undermined

There are lakes where there were none before and rivers where there were once trickling streams, said Cariboo Regional District Chair Margo Wagner when describing flooding in the region.

“We are asking people to stay away from creek and river banks. So many have eroded.”

Part of the problem, she added, is the fact creeks in the region had flows higher in the winter than they have had in years which coupled with warm temperatures in April fuelled the flooding.

“I live on Canim Lake which is 26 miles long, 700 feet deep and at least five to six kilometres at the widest point and overnight Sunday we saw the water level go up a foot.”

Canim Lake is known for its fluctuation in spring so people tend not to build too close to the lake, she added.

As of Wednesday morning there are seven evacuation orders impacting nine addresses in the CRD and five evacuation alerts for another 39 properties.

Read more: Evacuation alert for Bridge Creek – Houseman Road area due to flooding

Wagner said Bridge Creek is almost at the freshet level.

“I’ve only lived here 16 years and people who have lived here longer have said they’ve seen it this high. On the flip side because the temperature has not warmed up the waters have receded on Borland Creek and other creeks in the Central Cariboo area, so hopefully the same thing will happen for Bridge Creek.”

Where evacuation orders are in place, a lot of those people had already left but the CRD needs to put orders in place for those property owners to access insurance, Wagner explained.

“”I don’t think we’ve had anyone that said they would not leave.”

With the cooler temperatures in the forecast this week, it is anticipated there will be a bit of a lull as so far the weather is co-operating.

Wagner’s worry is if there are highs in the 30s in May then that will be a big problem.

“The spring melt from the Cariboo Mountains has not even started yet,” she added, noting in her area the temperature has not gone above 16C to date.

She reminded the public to use the information line at CRD’s Emergency Operation Centre, which is 1-866-759-4977.

“That’s the number to call because it goes straight through to the EOC.”

Read more: Cariboo landscape is changing as freshet evolves: MOTI manager


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