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Evacuation ordered in northwestern BC

WATER lapping up to benches near the railway bridge where the Kalum River flows into the Skeena River. - LAUREN BENN PHOTO
WATER lapping up to benches near the railway bridge where the Kalum River flows into the Skeena River.
— image credit: LAUREN BENN PHOTO

THE KITIMAT - STIKINE Regional District has now ordered the evacuation of an area of Old Remo following a rise in the water level of the Skeena River.

The order pertains to the Robin road North of Alwyn Creek.

"An evacuation order has been issued by the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine due to immediate danger to life safety due to localized flooding," the order states.

"Members of the Terrace RCMP will be expediting this action."

The order requires residents of the affected areas to leave immediately.

Those leaving are then required to register at the regional district's emergency social services reception centre at the Terrace Sportsplex.

The order, signed by regional district chair Harry Nyce, follows a declaration of a state of local emergency brought in this afternoon and in effect for seven days until July 2.

Evacuation alerts were earlier put in place for Robin Road north of Alwyn Creek Bridge as well as Dutch Valley, Old Kitselas Road, parts of Old Remo, Usk North, and New Remo below the Whitebottom turnoff, said regional district emergency co-ordinator Wes Patterson.

This morning, the Skeena River at Usk was measured at 11.428 metres, dropping to 11.41 at noon. Despite this, Patterson said alerts are being called because 10 - 25 mm of rain is expected to fall over the next two to four days.

"They're starting to recede a little bit," said Patterson. "With that said, we're still having a local state of emergency called."

"Potential for a continued river rise is still there."

Water levels on the Skeena River continued to drop this afternoon and were measured at 11.379 at the Usk Station as of 2:00 p.m.

The BC River Forecast Centre expects the river to continue receding slowly over the next couple of days followed by an increase in the level expected later in the week depending on the amount of rainfall.

The emergency services reception centre there opened today at 4 p.m. and will close at 9 p.m.

Tomorrow, it will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

"And, we do have a supply of sandbags and sand available," said Patterson. "We have been delivering to residents in the regional district."

For further information, Patterson instructed residents to call the Regional District office at 250-615-6100 during business hours.

He said lodging for those evacuated is being organized if needed.

"It would certainly be a help if people have alternate means of lodging ... whether that's with other family members or friends," said Patterson.

Rising waters have already led to several road closures.

Updates can be found on the Flood Watch 2012 Facebook page.

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