The Ministry of Public Safety is urging B.C. residents to use caution as increased flood risk due to precipitation and above-average snowpack and snowmelt is being observed. (Tara Sprickerhoff photo)

The Ministry of Public Safety is urging B.C. residents to use caution as increased flood risk due to precipitation and above-average snowpack and snowmelt is being observed. (Tara Sprickerhoff photo)

Caution urged with flooding in Cariboo and Central Interior

The Ministry of Public Safety is advising residents should be prepared for localized flooding

The provincial government is urging the public to use caution as flooding is occurring in some parts of the Cariboo and the Central Interior.

The Ministry of Public Safety is advising residents should be prepared for localized flooding as water levels are rising in the Interior of the province due to increased precipitation, an above-average snowpack and increased snowmelt.

An evacuation order for 148 properties in Tulameen has been issued by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS), and the remainder of the town is under evacuation alert.

An emergency social services reception centre is set up at the Riverside Community Centre, 148 Old Heley Rd., Princeton.

Any affected residents staying with family or friends are asked to register as soon as possible by visiting the reception centre, or by calling the RDOS Emergency Operations Centre at 250-490-4225.

Up-to-date information is available on the RDOS website at www.rdos.bc.ca.

An evacuation order has also been put in place for 47 properties by the Cariboo Regional District due to immediate danger from flooding.

An emergency social services reception centre is set up in the Quesnel Recreation Centre at 500 North Star Rd. Up-to-date information is available on the Cariboo Regional District website: www.cariboord.ca.

Other areas of the B.C. Central and Southern Interior are also experiencing flooding and slope instability. Evacuation orders are in place for the Killiney Beach area in the Central Okanagan, and the Sportsman Bowl area north of Oliver.

Emergency operations centres are currently activated in the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, the Central Okanagan Regional District and the CRD.

The River Forecast Centre has issued a flood warning for the Nazko River and West Road River, and is maintaining a flood watch for the Central Interior, including the Bonaparte River and tributary rivers around Cache Creek, Merritt, Williams Lake, Quesnel and surrounding areas.

There is also a high streamflow advisory for the South Interior, Boundary, Kootenay and Peace Regions.

Any local authority or First Nations community that is experiencing flooding is advised to call Emergency Management BC at 1-800-663-3456 for support.

The Ministry of Public Safety is offering five tips that can help to prepare you and your family for potential flooding:

1.) Steer clear of river and lake shorelines: Keep away from river edges and shorelines. During periods of high flow, river banks may be unstable and more prone to sudden collapse. Stay well away, and keep young children and pets away from the banks of fast-flowing streams and flooded areas or bridges.

2.) Recognize the danger signs: If you leave near a waterway, a change in water colour or rapid change in water level (especially a drop) could indicate a problem upstream. Call your local fire, police or public works department immediately if you suspect something out of the ordinary.

3.) Do not drive through flood water: Never attempt to drive or walk in flood water. A mere six inches of fast-moving water can knock over an adult. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including SUVs and pickup trucks. If you face a threatening flood situation, park vehicles away from streams and waterways, move electrical appliances to upper floors and make sure to anchor fuel supplies. Listen to local officials if you are asked to evacuate.

4.) Protect your home: The public is advised to prepare for possible flooding of low-lying areas by moving equipment and other assets from these areas to higher ground, where possible. Clear perimeter drains, eavestroughs and gutters. Sandbags can also help, and can be made available through your local government.

5.) Landslide risk: Heavy snowmelt may contribute to landslides and dangerous debris in creeks and waterways. Be safe, and do not go down to watch the rushing water. If trees are beginning to lean or bend near your home, or cracks are developing in the hillside, consult an engineer or contact local authorities.

For more information on flood-related evacuation alerts and orders, visit www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca or follow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/EmergencyInfoBC

PreparedBC is B.C.’s one-stop shop for disaster readiness information. For tips on how to prepare an emergency plan what to include in an emergency kit, visit PreparedBC: www.gov.bc.ca/PreparedBC

The River Forecast Centre is also a valuable resource, along with DriveBC.