A house is surrounded by water after the Fraser River burst its banks in Chilliwack, British Columbia June 24, 2012. Authorities have issued an evacuation order for 165 homes in Fraser Valley.
Credits: REUTERS/ANDY CLARK
CALGARY -- Hundreds are without access to their homes and one man is dead after flooding in B.C. over the weekend.
About 350 people who live in the Two Mile and Swansea subdivisions of Sicamous, B.C., a town of about
3,100 people 480 km west of Calgary, were ordered from their homes Saturday, some of them transported on houseboats, after the Sicamous and Hummingbird Creeks overflowed into the communities.
Up to 200 residents of the Sandy Point community were put on evacuation alert about 2 p.m. Monday, meaning they should be prepared to leave their homes if the situation worsens.
The evacuation orders and alert in the Sicamous area were among a handful across the province, Emergency Management B.C. reported Monday.
As of 2 p.m. local time Monday, more than 1,000 people province-wide were under 17 alerts, and 672 individuals were under 11 evacuation orders.
Dorothy Walker of Two Mile in Sicamous has been staying with her boss since Saturday, when she voluntarily fled the area after seeing the creek rise rapidly.
"It was torrential, ugly," Walker said.
Walker has lived in Sicamous for 24 years and said she's never seen something like this before.
"Foaming, trees rolling through the water; it's just not a pretty sight."
Mud slides and flooding forced a number of road closures including the Trans-Canada Hwy. from Perry River to Revelstoke.
Terry Kress, acting director of the Shuswap Emergency Operations Centre in Salmon Arm, B.C., about 30 km from Sicamous, said that as of Monday afternoon, Shuswap Lake was 1 cm higher than it was in 1997, when the last significant flood happened.
The lake level is expected to rise another five to 10 cm in the coming days, though only scattered showers are forecasted, Kress said.
Kress said that Sicamous's popular house-boating industry is expected to take a hit from the damage.
Jim Cooperman, president of the Shuswap Environmental Action Society, said some of flooding concerns can be attributed to clear cutting near the creeks.
Removing trees allows up to 70% more water to enter streams, he said.
Flooding elsewhere in the province was brought on by rain storms that caused rivers to swell, washed away bridges and damaged roads and homes.
In the Kootenays, a 72-year-old man died after the bridge he was standing on collapsed and rushing waters swept him away, police said.
Edward Posnikoff's body was found Sunday in Goose Creek, north of Castlegar, a short distance downstream from where he entered the water.