UPDATE: Joe Rich residents return home

Torrent of snowmelt raging down watershed creeks can be unsettling

The Evacuation Order, enacted on Wednesday , for the 8 properties along Philpott Road has been rescinded.

On May 9, a bridge across Darley Creek was in danger of being washed out, which would have left residents on Philpott Road isolated. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has assessed the bridge and re-opened it for public use.

Residents with questions or concerns about Philpott Road can contact the MOTI Kelowna Office at 250-712-3660.

All other evacuation orders and alerts remain in place. Officials continue to monitor all creeks in the region including McDougall and Powers creeks in West Kelowna, and Mill, Mission and Bellevue creeks in Kelowna.

Local states of emergency remain in place for Peachland, West Kelowna, and Kelowna, the Central Okanagan’s West Electoral Area in the vicinity of Westside Road N from 5625 Westside Road to the Regional Boundary, and Philpott Road in the Central Okanagan’s East Electoral Area. These allow crews to access private properties so they can proactively place flood protection measures along creeks to protect public infrastructure.

For up-to-date information, including evacuation alerts and orders that remain in place, as well as flood-preparedness resources, sign up for e-updates, visit cordemergency.ca, or call the information line at 250-469-8490 or 1-877-569-8490.

May 11, 2018.

Joe Rich residents are now faced with an evacuation order.

An evacuation order was issued for eight properties on Philpott Road because of concerns that a bridge was at risk of washing out and leaving the residents isolated. Officials knocked on the doors of the affected properties to inform residents of the order. The properties under the evacuation order are:

1061 Philpott Road

1120 Philpott Road

1230 Philpott Road

1231 Philpott Road

1330 Philpott Road

1350 Philpott Road

1470 Philpott Road

​1495 Philpott Road

Washouts also resulted in closures at the 2000 block of Huckleberry Road and the 6300 block of Goudie Road in Joe Rich. Philpott, Huckleberry and Goudie are all provincial roads. Residents with questions or concerns about the roads should contact the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s Kelowna Office at 250-712-3660.

“Today crews inspected the protection measures that are in place and noted areas that need to be reinforced,” says the Central Okanagan’s Emergency Operations Centre. “Flood prevention and mitigation efforts continue throughout the region as officials monitor roads, culverts, creeks and streams in conjunction with weather patterns.”

Crews in Kelowna also responded to reports of localized flooding along Parsons Road and the 4800 block of Lakeshore Road.

ORIGINAL: 1 p.m.

Joe Rich residents continue to hope an “exhausting and emotional” spring will give way to brighter days.

Road washouts occurred after a rainstrorm earlier this week, but one area resident says what’s more unsettling is the steady roar of freshet pouring down otherwise quiet creeks fed from the upper alpine snowmelt.

“You know how you see photos of someone standing in a field that has been turned into a pond? It’s not like that up here. It’s raging and angry and big and massive and forceful. The sound of huge boulders coming down the creeks and trees cracking is terrifying,” the Joe Rich woman told the Capital News, Thursday. “It’s been exhausting and emotional for everyone.”

The woman, who declined to offer her name, said her Philpott Road property suffered flood damage last year, which they just recently finished cleaning up.

“It looks like we will be cleaning up again. I know in town they get help with sandbagging but we don’t need sandbags out here, we need rip rap and dump truck loads and there isn’t much help for that.”

As of Thursday morning, there were three locations with flooding and one case required the precautionary evacuation of six properties while two roads suffered washout damage, said Adrian Nieoczym, public information officer with the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre.

The evacuations were called for around the six kilometre mark of Philpott Road due to concerns about the safety of a bridge across the road over Daves Creek.

“The worry is that if the bridge collapses, those people evacuated would otherwise be isolated and we wanted to ensure that doesn’t happen,” Nieoczym said.

The road washouts were reported near the 2000-block of Huckleberry Road and the 6300-block of Goudie Road.

Patty Hanson, on leave currently as regional director of the Central Okanagan Area East, said she watched Huckleberry Road come apart from her home at the corner of Huckleberry and Goudie.

“It was a massive part of the road, the size of a room, just gave way,” Hanson said.

She said it’s also very noticeable how much water is emerging from underground. “You really notice that when you look where Goudie gave way. The water was seeping out of the roadside banks and it’s not even close to a creek.

“It’s the second year in a row we’ve had water on our property coming from out of nowhere underground. You could easily fill up a swimming pool in a day from what’s coming out.”

Nieoczym said the provincial highways department is responsible for dealing with the road repairs.

He said the latest round of flooding damage resulted from the rainfall earlier in the week, which otherwise interrupted what has been a weather-favourable freshet runoff season absorbing record-high snow accumulations at the higher elevations above 1,500 metres.

“Mission Creek picked up significantly earlier in the week after we had rain but as of (Thursday morning) it had dropped back to 85 cubic metres per second,” Nieoczym said.

Last week, the B.C. River Forecast Centre was suggesting Mission Creek could peak out at up to 160 cubic metres per second, but it only reached 120 cubic metres per second.

“We’re not in a worse case scenario situation at the moment. The flood protection measures we put in place last year seem to be holding but we are assessing the situation on a daily basis. But it all depends on the weather. If get any large amount of rain you will start to see the affect on the creek again,” Nieoczym said.

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