The heavy rainfall in the Elk Valley has has increased the risk of localized flooding. The City of Fernie has closed its riverside trails and the RDEK is appealing to residents to stay away from high creeks and affected roads. Closed sections of trail that are impacted by high water levels include: The Town Loop from the Dogwood Park Boat Launch to Pine Ave. Bridge, and Pine Ave. Bridge to Cokato Rd., sections in James White Park, and Maiden Lake to the Fernie RV Park.
A band of thunderstorms moved up from Washington State through the southern Interior Saturday night, producing extensive lightning, gusty winds and up to 20 mm of rainfall.
Another disturbance moved into B.C. from Washington this morning, producing more rainfall over the Kootenays and Columbias. Additional rainfall amounts of 10 to 25 mm are forecast for today, with up to 35 mm where rainfall is enhanced by morning thunderstorms.
Potential impacts from thunderstorms and widespread rainfall include: rising rivers, downed trees, flash flooding, and danger to those recreating or working outside.
“We know when we receive heavy rain like this, it increases the chance of localized flooding and debris flows on waterways,” says Engineering Services Manager Brian Funke.
“Our primary concern is the safety of residents,” stresses Funke. “We are asking everyone to stay away from the creek banks and avoid any roads that are compromised by flood water.”
This rain event will affect waterways differently around the region; however, anyone in flood prone areas is encouraged to take steps to protect their properties.
Sandbag stations are currently located at the Fernie Public Works Yard, 1492 Railway Avenue.
The sandbag stations have sand and bags; however, residents need to bring their own shovels and gloves. Sandbags should be filled ½ to ¾ full with the ends folded over for best compaction and effectiveness when placing them.
Residents who see, or are experiencing, wide-scale flooding are encouraged to report it to the Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre at 1-800-663-3456. This is the fastest and most effective way to activate local emergency management personnel.
Evacuation Notification System
The RDEK launched an Evacuation Notification System (ENS) lasy year to keep residents and property owners informed in case of evacuation orders or alerts during critical events such as wildfires, floods or hazardous materials incidents.
This notification system will only be used for evacuation alerts or orders in the East Kootenay and every resident or property owner is encouraged to sign up.
The sign-up process is simple and is available to all residents and property owners in the East Kootenay: including rural RDEK, municipal and First Nations communities. You do have to register online here for the app and enter at least one location to receive notifications.