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2016 ___ Flooding and Highway updates…

PRINCE GEORGE, BC: The rain has finally stopped in the Prince George and Peace River regions which has left devastating damage to Highway 97, Chetwynd and Dawson Creek… 

The Mayor of Dawson Creek, Dale Bumstead, has declared a State of Local Emergency following the heavy rain storm that dumped over 100 mm of rain within a day and a half.

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Dawson Creek flooding. BC TRANS PHOTO

Many residents say this flood is nothing compared to the one in 2011 which also left a good swath of devastation on the outskirts of the city. This time the water rushed right through town, flooded 8th Street and left many arterial roads useless. Traffic normally takes about 10 minutes to get to one end of the city to other but it took hours for many to get home on Thursday. 

The same goes for Chetwynd. A Local State of Emergency is in effect for the community. Over 130 mm of rain fell on Chetwynd and the Pine Pass region on Wednesday. 

Highway 97 North will remain closed for days while crews assess the damage done to the highway. Judging by photos released by the Ministry of Transportation, Highway 97 has suffered severe damage in several locations. In 2011, it took months to repair the damage caused by flooding at that time. Motorists can expect to see a ton of delays throughout the summer months while crews fix the highway. 

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Highway 97 between Chetwynd and Mackenzie. BC TRANS PHOTO

Disaster relief: Below is information from the BC Government of financial assistance… 

Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) is now available to eligible British Columbians in the Peace River Regional District area, including Dawson Creek, Chetwynd, Fort St John, Hudson’s Hope, Pouce Coupe, Taylor, Tumbler Ridge and the First Nations communities of Saulteau and West Moberly who may have been impacted from the major flooding that occurred this past week.

DFA is available to home owners, residential tenants, small business owners, farmers, charitable organizations and local government bodies who were unable to obtain insurance to cover these disaster-related losses.

Applications for DFA must be submitted to Emergency Management BC (EMBC) by Sept 15, 2016. British Columbians can access the DFA application form at: http://ow.ly/CKSs301ncgO

 

Flooding in pictures:

 

Flood Warning/Watch continues:

The BC River Forecast Centre is maintaining a Flood Warning for:

  • Peace Region including streams near Pine Pass, Chetwynd, Tumbler Ridge, Dawson Creek, and Fort St John

The BC River Forecast Centre is maintaining a Flood Watch for:

  • Northeast BC including streams near Fort Nelson

Rainfall eased yesterday as the system moved from the region. Rainfall totals over the past 24 hours have been between 5 to 12 mm in the Peace region. As the system has passed, most streams in the region have already peaked with the exception of streams in the Fontas and Muskwa drainage basins of the Northeast.

Environment Canada forecasts indicate potential for scattered showers or isolated thunderstorms on Friday with totals from 5 to 15 mm. The weekend conditions will be drier. Details of the current weather affecting the province may be found here.

In the South Peace region, river levels on major streams peaked on Thursday or Friday morning and most rivers have started to decrease. In the Northeast, flows are continuing to increase today. Flow conditions this morning, recorded by the Water Survey of Canada (WSC), are as follows:

  • Pine River near East Pine is recording a flow of 2000 m3/s, which is between the 5-year and 10-year return period flow. Flows are decreasing and are forecast to continue to decrease through the weekend.
  • Sukunka River is recording a flow of 509 m3/s, which is between the 2-year and 5-year return period flow. Flows are decreasing and are forecast to continue to decrease through the weekend.
  • Murray River near the mouth is recording a flow of 427 m3/s, which is below the 2-year return period flow. Flows are decreasing and are forecast to continue to decrease through the weekend.
  • Dickebusch River is recording a flow of 20 m3/s, which is between the 5-year and 10-year return period flow. Flows are decreasing and are forecast to continue to decrease through the weekend.
  • Carbon Creek is recording a flow of 133 m3/s, which is between the 5-year and 10-year return period flow. Flows are decreasing and are forecast to continue to decrease through the weekend.
  • Moberly River is recording a flow of 102 m3/s, which is between the 5-year and 10-year return period flow. Water levels have been steady overnight. Flows are forecast to begin to decrease later Friday.
  • Kiskatinaw River is recording a flow of 283 m3/s, which is between the 2-year and 5-year return period flow. Flows are decreasing and are forecast to continue to decrease through the weekend.
  • Pouce Coupe River is recording a flow of 365 m3/s, which is between the 5-year and 10-year return period flow. Flows are decreasing and are forecast to continue to decrease through the weekend.
  • Peace River above Alces River is recording a flow of 5200 m3/s, which is close to the 10-year return period flow. Flows peaked early this morning and are forecast to gradually decrease over the weekend.
  • Fontas River is recording a flow of 186 m3/s. Water levels have risen 186 cm overnight and are expected to continue to rise through the day Friday. Flows are forecast to reach between 520 to 570 m3/s by early Saturday morning. Peak flows may approach the 20-year return period flow event. Flows are forecast to begin to decrease Saturday afternoon.
  • Muskwa River is recording a flow of 1817 m3/s. Water levels have risen 103 cm overnight and are expected to continue to rise through the day Friday. Flows are forecast to reach between 2000 to 2300 m3/s tonight. Peak flows may exceed the 2-year return flow event. Flows are forecast to begin to decrease Saturday afternoon.

The rain event set record daily accumulation totals for some locations in the Peace region. Storm precipitation totals were up to 130 mm in the South Peace region. Daily precipitation on Wednesday at Chetwynd and Dawson Creek were close to 90 mm and exceeded the 24-hour 100-year rainfall event. Rainfall totals at Fort St. John were close to 50 mm on Wednesday and were close to the 24-hour 10-year rainfall event.

Streamflow response was rapid on Wednesday and flow magnitudes for major streams ranged between the 20-year and 50-year return period flows (5% to 2% probability of occurrence). Flows on the Peace River reached the 10-year return period flow early this morning. Flows on smaller systems in the headwaters and in the East Peace region exceeded the 50-year return period flows (<2% probability of occurrence).

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