Region hit by floods

Melting snow and rain have Cranbrook and surrounding communities awash

Parts of Cranbrook, Wasa, Fort Steele, Meadowbrook and Wardner are experiencing flooding after heavy snow gave way to warm temperatures and rain this week.

On Thursday, March 6, the City of Cranbrook issued a statement saying that there are flooding issues that have heightened concern around the region.

Many areas of the city are experiencing flooding, according to Chris Zettel, Cranbrook’s communications officer, including parts of Joseph Creek, Highway 3, the CP rail yard and Cobham Avenue.

“Right now every available staff member with our Public Works department and every piece of available equipment are out there working,” said Zettel on Thursday. “In fact, Public Works has had to bring in several rented pieces of equipment to help. We will continue to monitor the situation over the next number of days and keep the public updated.”

Joseph Creek is currently running extremely high, higher even than the spring freshet last spring. Residents are advised to please stay away from any creeks, including Joseph Creek and lakes including both Elizabeth and Idlewild Lake. Ice conditions on both lakes will most likely be very poor and someone may be able to fall through.

City staff are stretched thin trying to deal with the situation and concerned calls from the public. The city is doing its best to help everyone who needs.

Cranbrook residents can help protect their neighbourhood, Zettel went on.

“A simple thing residents or business owners can do is ensure any storm water drain you have around your home or business, please make sure it is clear of ice and debris so the water has somewhere to go.”

For residents who wish to get sandbags, Public Works has bags and sand available beside the Public Works yard on Cobham Avenue. Zettel said residents will need to fill their own bags and should bring a shovel.

The weather forecast is calling for continued warm temperatures and the potential for more rainfall the next couple of days. Overnight temperatures are not expected to hit the freezing mark at least until early next week.

Meanwhile, localized flooding around the region has caused a low-level activation of the Regional District of East Kootenay’s emergency plan.

A frozen culvert at Wasa has created issues as it thaws, while in Meadowbrook there is a home threatened in the mobile home park. A heritage building at Fort Steele is being pumped to prevent damage to historical items.

“We are currently mobilizing sand and sandbags for the Wardner area as we do have some overland flooding affecting four or five homes in that community and will be assessing the need for other sandbags on an ongoing basis during this rapid melt cycle,” said Loree Duczek, RDEK information officer.

If you are experiencing a flooding related emergency or are concerned about the imminent potential for one, please call the Provincial Emergency Communications Centre at 1-800-663-3456.

“The first call anyone makes should be to the Provincial Emergency Communications Centre at 1-800-663-3456. The Emergency Communications Centre notifies the appropriate officials and this is the best way to alert our emergency program personnel if required,” said Duczek.

You can also get some additional information on the Emergency Management BC website at www.embc.gov.bc.ca/em/floods/index.html.

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