Creekside residents in Lumby, B.C. under evacuation alert as water rises “rapidly”

A small community in the North Okanagan has issued an evacuation alert for creekside residents as the water rises rapidly during the spring runoff.

The Village of Lumby issued the evacuation alert for 70 units on 13 properties Tuesday, but the media was informed in an email issued Thursday morning.

All residents of properties located directly on the Duteau, Bessette and Harris creeks must be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice should high water pose a more significant threat.

The impacted areas include Bessette Street, Faulkner Avenue, Glencaird Street, Heighway Crescent, Maple Street, Shuswap Avenue, Vale Avenue, Vernon Street and Quesnel Road.

The Village said due to COVID-19, it cannot operate a brick-and-mortar reception centre, so residents are encouraged to register online early at ess.gov.bc.ca

Residents under an evacuation alert are also encouraged to locate all family members and designate a meeting area in a safe place, should an order be called while separated.

They’re being asked to pack essential items, such as government-issued ID, medications and valuable papers, for quick departure, prepare to move vulnerable people who may require assistance, and arrange transportation and accommodation in case residents are forced from their homes.

The B.C. River Forecast Centre has issued a high stream flow advisory for the North Okanagan, including tributaries around Vernon, Lumby and Winfield.

“River levels have been responding to snowmelt and rainfall,” the advisory says, and five to 15 millimetres of rain fell over the region in the past 24 hours.

The forecast centre says Bessette Creek is approaching a two-year flow rate and has eased slightly over the past two days.

The bike park and Salmon Trail have also been closed due to high creek levels, according to the White Valley Parks, Recreation & Culture Facebook page.

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