Chilcotin River peaks, extent of damage from flooding uncertain: officials

WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C. — The B.C. River Forecast Centre says the Chilcotin River has peaked after it experienced a one-in-200-year flood event.

The centre says it expected river levels to start receding Wednesday and for the rest of the week after reaching a high Tuesday night thanks to 100 millimetres of rainfall since Friday that swamped the region.

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A flood warning remains in place for the Chilcotin, while a high streamflow advisory is up for two of the river's tributaries, the Chilko River and Big Creek.

Environment Canada says thunderstorms with rainfall of less than five millimetres were expected Wednesday.

Cariboo Regional District spokeswoman Emily Epp says they've heard from at least 20 ranchers whose properties are flooded.

An advisory from the Transportation Ministry says half a dozen roads are closed as crews try to repair the flood damage.

The roads that are closed usually have low traffic volumes but they provide important access for isolated residents and camps, the ministry says.

Epp says the district expects to hear from more property owners, because the flood-stricken region covers hundreds of kilometres and includes the community of Big Creek, the Xeni Gwet'in First Nation and the Nemaiah Valley.

"It is such a large area we don't quite have a sense yet of who, and how many people have been impacted," she says.

An advisory from Interior Health says well- or river-water systems affected by flooding should not be used.

Epp says the regional district was delivering potable water to some ranches, but the emergency operations centre wants to hear from more people in order to assess needs.

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