West Kootenay weather turns deadly

Heavy rains and rising waters resulted in one death and evacuation orders being ordered by the Regional District of Central Kootenay.

Heavy rains and rising waters also created complications across the West Kootenay, resulting in one death and evacuation orders being issued by the neighbouring regional district in three affected areas.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay put evacuation orders into place in the Pass Creek and Goose Creek areas north of the Highway 3A junction, as well the Slocan Valley West Road— affecting 30 homes—and Broadwater Road, where a mudslide, north of Robson, impacted access to Deer Park, Syringa Park and Scotties Marina.

The mudslide forced the evacuation of one area residence, while extreme heavy winds knocked down an estimated four dozen trees in the West Lake area of Christina Lake near Grand Forks.

On Saturday a 72-year-old man went to check the water levels outside his Pass Creek home and was found drowned Sunday morning by search and rescue teams from Castlegar and Nelson. Rising waters washed out the bridge to the man’s property on Saturday afternoon. The identity of the body has not yet been confirmed.

“Pass Creek has doubled in capacity as a result of the rains,” said Emcon Services’ division manager, Joe Mottishaw.

Meanwhile a flood watch continues for the Kootenay River that flows into the Columbia River in Trail, according to the B.C. Rivers Forecast Centre.

A release from the centre Friday noted rivers have been responding to rapid snowmelt and wet conditions over the past three weeks as warmer weather reduces the remaining snow pack.  A low pressure system off of Washington brought warm and wet weather across the province on the weekend, but dropped the heaviest rainfall in the West Kootenay region.

As a result, Redfish Creek near Harrop is currently topping out its 50-year high flow rate, with the Slocan River the highest it has been in five years. However, additional rises are expected early this week.

Ferry service was interrupted Sunday at Glade, the Upper Arrow Lake (southbound) and into Harrop as floating debris compromised ferry cables stretching across the water. And with Kootenay Lake at its third-highest level in 39 years, the situation could be repeated this week as the Forecast Centre said inflow levels to lake were still increasing.

Highway 1 was also closed in both directions on the weekend between Three-Valley Gap and Revelstoke because of a mudslide 15 kilometres west of the town, with waits of up to four hours at Galena Bay ferry crossing.