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Rainfall warning adds to flood concerns

Water continues to pour down into the Greater Trail region, prompting a rainfall warning from Environment Canada for the West Kootenay.

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Water continues to pour down into the Greater Trail region, prompting a rainfall warning from Environment Canada for the West Kootenay into Thursday, ramping up a high stream advisory to a flood watch from the B.C. River Forecast Centre.

A large-scale upper low-pressure system has developed across the West Kootenay and has soaked 30 millimetres of rain into the soggy scene over the past 24 hours, adding to an already saturated soil situation.

As a result, river levels have been rising in response to this deluge, pushing smaller creeks and rivers near peak levels of their five-year flow rates.

In fact, the Slocan River near Crescent Valley is currently rising at a rate of three centimeters per hour (one inch per hour), pounding water across the rock face where whitewater kayakers play, creating waves in excess of one metre (three feet).

In Fruitvale, the waters of Beaver Creek are level with the edge of its banks, after it rose 15 cm. (six inches) Tuesday night, and a further nine cm. (four inches) Wednesday morning.

Village of Fruitvale chief administrative officer Lila Cresswell said the water level was still not as high as it was last year at its peak — and it has not jumped its banks and flooded the park in the village core — but it is uprooting trees in some areas near Bluebird corner.

“Southeast Emergency Management has us on a flood watch and we are in constant contact with them,” she said.

The low-pressure system is drifting northwestward toward northern B.C., but before it does it will drop up to 20 mm. of rain around Trail and further east into Castlegar, Nelson and the Slocan Valley.

Rain turned to snow in higher elevations Wednesday afternoon, closing the Salmo to Creston (83.9 km) Highway 3 mountain pass after a vehicle incident resulted from the extreme weather conditions, according to DriveBC. The road was still closed as of press time.

Meanwhile, the ongoing closure of the Trans-Canada Highway between Revelstoke and Golden will “likely” continue for the “next few days” said a Parks Canada spokesperson.

The slide came down in the early morning hours of June 6 as the area experienced heavy rains during spring runoff.

Parks Canada spokesperson Jacolyn Daniluck told the Revelstoke Times Review the mudslide is at the East Gate Landslide Area, located near the eastern boundary of Glacier National Park.

Flood conditions are a growing possiblity on rivers throughout the region, including the Salmo River. Earlier this week, a high streamflow advisory was issued for the Kootenay River, which flows into the Columbia River.

“Larger river systems are still responding to the rainfall and are currently rising,” the report warned.

On Tuesday afternoon, a large amount of debris and high stream flow rates prompted a 9-1-1 call to Trail Fire Rescue when it was believed someone had fallen into the river.

The search was called off by Trail RCMP after searching the river for several hours with the department’s rescue boat when no sign of a person was found.

Flows on Duhamel Creek 10 kilometres east of Nelson are currently cresting at 11.5 cubic metres per second, or at a 10-year flow level, while nearby Redfish Creek is cresting at 13 m3/s, or a 20-year flow level.