Public asked to stay vigilant over the long weekend; Evacuation alerts remain in effect
The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is advising residents and visitors to stay vigilant for potential flooding over the long weekend. Weather forecasts for the Salmo area are somewhat favourable, and snow-melt has slowed slightly, but conditions in other areas, such as Slocan Valley, remain uncertain.
“Over the past few days, crews have placed nearly 20,000 sandbags in critical points in Salmo, and they will now be deployed to other high-priority areas or returning to regular duty,” said Andrew Bellerby, the RDCK EOC Director. “Weather will continue to be a factor into the long weekend. While we are cautiously optimistic, there is still the potential for flooding, and we are asking the public to stay alert and stay informed.”
Schools in Salmo were closed today as a precaution, but at this point no evacuation orders have been issued. Evacuation alerts in Salmo and surrounding areas and the Slocan Valley remain in effect. The RDCK advises people to be prepared to leave the area at short notice. This alert may be followed by an immediate evacuation order should conditions worsen. Sandbags and other flood protection features should stay in place.
The RDCK continues to monitor Erie Creek, Salmo River and Slocan River, and is also keeping an eye on Kaslo River. Some homes that are historically vulnerable to flooding may be evacuated if conditions worsen.
Chief Bellerby advised that water levels in rivers, lakes and streams across the region are high, and the public should stay clear of banks and waterways. “People who want to enjoy some leisure time in parks or trails should keep an eye on conditions and pay attention to safety notices. Conditions can change quickly, so do what you can to stay safe.”
If it becomes necessary to evacuate any areas, affected residents will be advised in person through local officials. The RDCK will also use their Emergency Notification System—sign up at https://rdckemergency.connectrocket.com/ or call the EOC at 250-352-7701. Evacuation alerts, orders and rescinds are also posted on the RDCK website, and shared via Facebook and Twitter.
What residents can do to be prepared:
· Sandbags and sand that residents can to use to protect their properties can be accessed at any of the locations listed on the RDCK website: www.rdck.ca/befloodprepared
· If you have livestock or pets, take this time to prepare your animals for possible evacuation.
· If you are not physically able to evacuate yourself, contact the EOC public inquiry line at 250-352-7701 now, so authorities are aware of your circumstances.
· If you have questions about how to prepare for an evacuation, where to get sandbags or other questions relating to emergency preparedness, contact the EOC at 250-352-7701.
· Report flooding emergencies by calling 911.
· Report any new hazards, such as potential flooding or debris flows, to the 24-hour toll-free provincial emergency number at 1-800-663-3456.
· Sign up for the RDCK Emergency Notification System to receive instant notification of evacuation orders. Go to www.rdck.ca and select “Emergency Alerts” from the home page, or go to the notification system sign-up page at https://rdckemergency.connectrocket.com.
· Other important phone numbers and online resources are available in the “Know How to Access Important Emergency Information” (fact sheet): http://www.rdck.ca/assets/Services/Emergency~Management/Documents/2018-05-18-FS-EOC-Where-to-get-info-FINAL.pdf