Cache Creek is bracing for one in 90 year water levels over the next four days, with water already breaching culverts and flooding several properties and roads in the Village.
“It’s overflowing like last year at Quartz Road and the junction of Highways 1 and 97,” says Ashcroft RCMP detachment commander Sgt. Kathleen Thain. The water is flowing so heavily at the highway junction that people on foot are not being allowed across unless they have a personal flotation device, she adds.
A rapidly melting snowpack has caused local creeks and rivers to rise to dangerous levels in the past 48 hours. As of the evening of Friday, April 27 water had breached culverts at Quartz Road and on Highway 97 near the Dairy Queen, causing flooding of several properties, along with sections of Highways 1 and 97.
DriveBC advises that Highway 1 has been closed in both directions at Spences Bridge, and six kilometres west of Savona at Deadman Vidette Road, because of washout. Travellers coming west along Highway 1 to Ashcroft and points south can take Tunkwa Lake Road and Highway 97C.
Highway 97 is closed in both directions at the junction with Highway 99, and Highway 97 northbound is closed at the junction with Highway 1 in Cache Creek.
The highway advisories will be updated at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 28.
Thain is advising local residents to keep clear of Cache Creek. Public Works crew members, firefighters, and volunteers are on site to help with sandbagging, and police are monitoring the situation. Despite calls on social media for volunteers to help with sandbagging, Thain says it is better for people to stay away.
“We’d prefer that no one go there,” she says. “Let the Public Works crew and other personnel do their job unimpeded.”
Cache Creek Elementary School was evacuated on the morning of April 27 because of rapidly rising water levels in the Bonaparte, with students bused to Desert Sands Community School in Ashcroft for the day.
A sandbagging work bee planned for Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the coverall in Cache Creek Park is still going ahead, subject to conditions.
Emergency Management BC, the Ministry of Environment, the River Forecast Centre, and Environment Canada have all warned of water levels in the Bonaparte River rising to one in 90 year levels before the water peaks, which is expected on May 1 or May 2.
The Village is encouraging residents to install sandbags and move valuable belongings to higher ground, and to consider preparing a “grab and go” kit containing essentials, such as medication, in case immediate evacuation is needed.
Keep a safe distance from all riverbanks, as they will become increasingly slippery and unstable. Children should be warned to stay away from watercourses, and be closely supervised. Do not work alone around a creek or river, and wear a personal flotation device when working around water.
This is the third time in four years that Cache Creek has suffered devastating floods. In 2015 a sudden rainstorm in late May caused extensive damage throughout the Village, while sudden snowmelt in early May 2017 caused flooding throughout the Village and took the life of Cache Creek Volunteer Fire Department chief Clayton Cassidy, who was swept away by floodwater while checking creek levels.