Flooding in British Columbia is a common and unfortunate reality for many Canadian residents. Property damage, loss of homes or personal belongings, injury and even death are among the situations faced when flooding occurs.
Currently the Central Okanagan is suffering from yet another unusual amount of flooding due to heavy rain fall. With the ground already saturated from snow melt, there is nothing to absorb the rainfall.
“We’re getting our ducks in a row, mapping out what properties will be impacted and figuring out how best to instruct home owners to protect themselves, what kind of protection works best— whether that be sandbags or the Tiger dams —and how we can facilitate that.”- City Staff quote.
Rapid snow melt, ice jams and heavy rainfall are factors that can play into flooding causes. This paired with unprepared communities can be devastating for homeowners and residents. Warm temperatures speed up the spring snow melt, resulting in runoff surges between April to July.
2017 was a devastating time for floods in BCs interior residents with flooding worse than it has ever been since 1990. Timeline of events for the 2018 Flood Season:
- April 26 – Property owners are told to get prepared, CORD opens their Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)
- April 27 – CORD provides sandbags to residents as needed
- April 29 – Evacuation Orders for Killiney Beach neighborhood and the Nazko Valley are issued
Visit the Central Okanagan Regional District website for further updates (https://www.regionaldistrict.com/). If you live in this region, be sure to sign up for email alerts.
The CORD Emergency Operations Team recommends the following:
- Install “No reverse” flow valves for basements flood drains
- Consider investing in a sump pump to help pull water away from your home
- Move toxic, harmful or potential harmful substances, along with electrical appliances to above ground level floors
- Seal cracks in foundation, doorways and windows
- Stock up on sandbags, look into “wet-proofing” systems for your home
- Purchase emergency supply kits for your home, car and work (plan for at least a three-day supply of food and water for each family member)
- Have a grab-and-go kit ready if you have to leave your home quickly
- Keep important papers in watertight containers and have a record of your valuables in a safe place
- If flooding is likely in your area, pay attention to the local media for information
- Watch for warning signs: increase in height and intensity of water flows, mudslides, debris in creeks, colour changes in water or leaning trees
- Know that banks of rivers and streams may be unstable and dangerous
- Keep a safe distance away from fast flowing water, especially children
- Teach your children about flood safety
- Consider arrangements for your pets and any livestock
Putting emergency systems in place are only one way to protect your home during flooding, it is critical that your family and neighbours have an evacuation plan in place, along with a grab and go style emergency bag with everything you need for a minimum 72 hours, including food and water rations, first aid supplies, clothing, sanitary items- such as soap, hand sanitizer and toilet paper, baby food and formula (if applicable), lighting sources, emergency blankets, whistle, multi-function knife.
Keep a close eye on emergency management websites for your regional district. Preplanning evacuation routes- know the dangers with each route.
Water boil advisories are often put in place during flooding due to water contamination with the rising water levels.
Total damages and homes affected are not yet able to be reported on as the numbers are still being put together and damages are so extensive, the numbers have yet to be rendered.