Canadian Forces soldiers sandbag near the river on Saturday. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)

VIDEO: Grand Forks shores up defences as floodwaters rise to peak levels

Canadian Forces, volunteers working to protect low-lying areas

Although flood levels are expected to peak in Grand Forks by Saturday night, officials with the emergency operations centre don’t believe water will rise as high as predicted earlier.

“Things are looking better today. They are expecting that the high water will be this afternoon or early evening but it doesn’t look to be as bad as what we were anticipating early on,” said assistant fire Chief Kevin McKinnon.

“We’re feeling somewhat comfortable that the dikes will hold.”

Close to 3,000 people still remain on evacuation order in the Kootenay-Boundary region, 1,600 of them in Grand Forks.

McKinnon said that some of the worst flooding was on Thursday night and into early Friday morning, when the Grandby River breached its banks and flooded low-lying areas, leaving nearly a foot of water.

The hardest hit area in Grand Forks remains the Ruckle neighbourhood, where at its worst, water came up above windows mid-way up the sides of houses.

The northern part of Ruckle was flooded when dikes breached Thursday night.

“There’s still a significant amount of water… though it’s gone down three to four feet,” said McKinnon on Saturday afternoon.

READ MORE: Residents sandbag Ruckle in advance of predicted Saturday flood

Before the peak hits, a group of 30-35 trained rapid damage assessors will be judging whether or not the homes evacuees have left behind are safe to reenter once the flood waters recede.

“Some of them are going to be quite bad. Are any of them going to be ‘can’t do anything, go bulldoze it?’ I don’t think so,” said McKinnon.

“But certainly there are a lot of places that are going to need a lot of work.”

But for now, the evacuees will have to watch over the homes from afar, either at the town’s evacuation centres or at the houses of friends and family who’ve taken them in.


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