The BC River Forecast Centre has issued a Flood Warning for the Elk Valley with three days of heavy, prolonged rain in the forecast over the next 72 hours and rivers already swollen in the midst of spring freshet. A Flood Warning means that river levels have the potential to exceed bankfull imminently, and that flooding of areas adjacent to the rivers affected will result.

Fernie Activated an Emergency Operations Centre earlier today to be prepared for potential flooding.

Follow the Flood Warning and Adversary Notifications here: bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/warnings/index.htm

“While we are encouraging residents across the East Kootenay, particularly those with flood-prone properties or those situated near waterways, to use extreme caution and take steps to prepare now in the event of flooding, there are a few key areas that could be susceptible to debris floods or flows if the forecasted rain materializes,” says Regional Information Officer Loree Duczek. “The Morrisey and Fernie areas in the Elk Valley experienced a flood event in November, which makes these areas more vulnerable to severe weather as well.”

Coal Creek Road was closed on the weekend until further notice.

The RDEK is urging all residents to stay away from the creeks, to maintain situational awareness, and to ensure they are registered for the Regional Evacuation Notification System (ENS). “The forecast is calling for up to 50mm of rain in Fairmont and up to 80mm in the Elk Valley by Wednesday. We will have members of our Flood Response Unit in the Elk Valley and Fairmont area tomorrow monitoring conditions; however, with debris floods or flows, things can change quickly and with very little warning,” adds Duczek.

The RDEK strongly encourages residents to sign up for the Evacuation Notification System if they have not already done so – especially in flood-prone areas. “Once people are signed up, they will be directly alerted in the event of evacuation orders or alerts affecting their registered property. It’s a free system, is available for municipalities, First Nations and rural areas of the RDEK and is easy to sign up for,” says Duczek.

“While we all hope the heavy rain doesn’t lead to flooding, being prepared, avoiding taking preventable risks and maintaining awareness make a big difference if it does,” adds Duczek.

To report significant flooding, call the 24-hour East Kootenay emergency line at 250-489-9677. For flood preparedness information, visit www.preparedbc.ca.

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