Armed Forces sending troops to aid BC flood relief
Armed Forces sending troops to aid B.C. flood relief The federal government has confirmed that 140 Canadian Armed Forces troops are heading to B.C. to help with flood relief efforts today.
Troops will deploy to affected areas, help with sandbagging and evacuationsResidents of the flooded Ruckle neighbourhood in Grand Forks, B.C., were allowed to return to their homes for 12 hours on Thursday. (Tina Lovegreen/CBC)
The federal government has confirmed that Canadian Armed Forces troops are heading to B.C. to help with flood relief efforts today.
"Yesterday evening, the CAF deployed over 140 personnel to begin reconnaissance and liaison with local emergency operations centres." said a statement issued on Thursday just before noon PT.
The first troops h ave already arrived in Vernon and Victoria to work with local and provincial emergency operations teams.
"This initial deployment will make further recommendations on how the CAF can assist. This will determine the capabilities, number of personnel, and locations where the CAF will deploy."
A second group of over 100 soldiers left their base in Edmonton on Wednesday night and are expected to arrive in Vernon later today. From there they will be deployed as needed.
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"Troops are deploying to the affected areas and will provide assistance with evacuations, help protect key assets from flood damage and bolster sandbagging efforts," said a st atement issued by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale earlier on Thursday morning.
"British Columbians can rest assured that help will be provided as soon as possible."
Troops to sandbag, aid evacuations
Earlier in the morning B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the federal government has agreed to send more troops if needed.
"They will be going to areas of greatest concerns and need.â¦ They will send more if we need them."Residents retrieve their belongings from the flooded Ruckle neighbourhood of Grand Forks. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)
The troops will help with evacuations, sandbagging and other efforts to prevent damage, he said, and will stay long enough to get through the next round of flooding.
Already this week, forest firefighters and the Salvation Army have been deployed to the region to provide assistance, sandbagging and providing hot meals for volunteers.
Across the province over 1,900 homes remain under evacuation orders and another 2,900 are under evacuation alerts, meaning the residents must be ready to leave at a moment's notice.
Coming rain a concern
The weather remains a particular concern for communities, such as Grand Forks, Christina Lake, the Similkameen and Osoyoos Lake, said Farnworth, where a second surge of floodwaters is expected in the coming days.
"The rain will play an important part in that, and it doesn't take a lot of rain to raise things up, coupled with the melting snow," he said.
As temperatures heat up during the afternoon, thunderstorms with up to 40 millimetres of rain are possible throughout the B.C. Interior Thursday, said CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe.
On Thursday morning, officials warned Keromeos Creek was already breaching its banks near Highway 3 between K eremeos and Cawston and that RCMP may soon close the route.Overnight, Keremeos Creek breached its banks at the 2500 block of Highway 3 between Keremeos and Cawston. (@EmergMgtRDOS/Twitter)
Officials in the Lower Mainland are also keeping a close eye on water levels in the Fraser River, including the river gauges at Hope and Mission, he said.
Already evacuation orders and alerts have been issued for several small communities in the Fraser Valley east of Vancouver, including a new evacuation order for five properties on Harrison Bay issued on Wednesday evening.
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Farnworth blamed the heavy flooding this year on a combination of factors, including warm weather, heavy snowpacks in the mountains and last year's forest fires.
"What we are seeing this year is different than previous years. We are seeing a very fast snowmelt. In some regions it has been over 230 per cent normal snowpack â" that's significant."
Previous forest fires made conditions worse in many areas because the water is unable to penetrate a crust on the ground left by the hot fires, he said.British Columbia Premier John Horgan looks out at the Fraser River and Port Mann Bridge from above Surrey, B.C., during an aerial tour from Vancouver to Hope of potential flood areas, on Wednesday. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Much of the snow at lower elevations has melted in recent weeks, according to the River For ecast Centre, with the remaining flooding threat coming from the mid- to high-elevation snowpack.
That means the flood risks from snow melt are expected to last another one to two weeks. Future risks of flooding beyond that period will largely be associated with heavy rainfall events.
Schools closed as rivers rise
Meanwhile, elementary and secondary students across the Boundary school district of south-central B.C. won't be in class Thursday as that area braces for another round of flooding.A man walks past as water is pumped from a business in the downtown area in Grand Forks, in the Boundary Country of the West Kootenay region of British Columbia, on Tuesday. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)
School District 51 says its 10 schools and the development centre will be closed. The district advises parents and students to ch eck online for further updates as they prepare to return from the Victoria Day long weekend.
- Check the B.C. River Forecast Centre predictions.
- Check the latest flood warnings and advisories.
- Check the latest evacuation alerts and warnings.
- Check the latest road closures.
"Due to the potential repeat flooding and road closures, all schools will be closed and school buses will not be running in School District No. 51 on Thursday," said a statement on the district website.A bicycle is retrieved Thursday from the Ruckle neighbourhood of Grand Forks, which has been hard hit by flooding. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)Report Typo or Error|Send Feedback
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