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Flood watch issued for several B.C. communities

Vancouver, June 3: Several B.C. communities facing a risk of flooding issued evacuation alerts late this week.

According to notices on EmergencyInfoBC, evacuation alerts were issued by the Town of Smithers, Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako and Regional District of Kitimate-Stikine Thursday.

The evacuation alerts came as the River Forecast Centre issued high streamflow advisories covering parts of B.C.’s southern Interior as warming weather causes snowmelt and rising waters. Similar advisories remain in place across parts of northern B.C.

The forecast centre said a low-pressure system is expected to bring unsettled weather and moderate to heavy rainfall across the Interior starting Friday. It also said current modelling indicates the potential for high flows and possible flood conditions over the weekend, with some uncertainty about how much rain will fall.

In the Smithers area, a streamflow advisory was upgraded to a flood watch for the Bulkley River. As a result, the town issued an evacuation alert Thursday afternoon because of the “potential danger to life and health” for the areas of Riverside Drive, Riverside Park Campground and the Smithers Fall Fair grounds.

“An evacuation alert has been issued to prepare you to evacuate your premises or property should it be found necessary,” a statement from the town said.

On the other side of the river from Smithers, an alert was also issued for the Ebenezer Flats area Thursday.

Alerts issued by the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine covered New Remo, Old Remo, Dutch Valley and Usk.

Officials explained the alerts don’t mean residents need to leave their homes now, but should prepare for a possible evacuation order. With the alert in place, those living in the impacted area should gather essential items like medications, valuable papers and immediate-care needs in a grab-and-go bag.

Residents should also contact family members, pick a meeting spot and arrange to stay with friends or family, if possible and if needed. Those in the area should also prepare for transportation for all household members and fill gas tanks.

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