Worries over major flooding in Grand Forks are diminishing – for now – as the Kettle and Granby rivers start to recede after the weekend kept many on high alert.
As of Monday (May 8), Environment Canada is predicting another weekend of temperatures into the high-20s C starting Thursday, following more rain throughout the week ahead.
Grand Forks Fire and Rescue chief James Runciman said the higher temperatures will mean more rapid snowmelt water feeding into the two rivers. Because of that and ongoing flooding, all mitigation efforts are being left in place.
The City of Grand Forks lifted its State of Local Emergency early Sunday afternoon. As well, evacuation orders in place for 34 properties on 12 Street and 39th Street have been downgraded to alerts.
This doesn’t change conditions in Area D or any other parts of the Boundary region.
The Kettle and Granby rivers crested early Sunday morning, with waters slowly receding throughout the day. By Monday morning, flooding was noticeably diminished, including at City Park.
Justin Dinsdale, director of Disaster Mitigation Adaptation Fund, said he was confident in the city’s mitigation efforts. This includes the Tiger Dams deployed and the downtown mitigation efforts holding back the waters.
Both Dinsdale and Rumnciman were out on Sunday afternoon inspecting the South Ruckle Tiger Dam, where waters were less than eight inches from breaking the banks.
Dinsdale said flood mitigation efforts have so far kept the downtown mostly dry, with only some water being reported in basements.
“We had to take our limited resources and focus on three critical areas, here (9th Street), Grandy and Rockwell. And Rockwell had their own flood plan which helped even more,” he said.
“Instead of trying to fight across six or seven areas, we are only fighting in three, which is why we were able to put it up so fast.”
Runciman added that water is hard to predict, especially ground water. The dams and dikes will hold the river waters back, but ground water can seep up anywhere.
The best they can do is have an emergency plan.
Many residents spent the weekend gathering and stacking sandbags on their own properties, as well as helping neighbours and business owners.
The Profili family formed an assembly line on Friday, stacking sandbags around the foundation of their 12th Street home in case they were ordered to leave.
“I’m hoping that it’s going to be fine, but I’d rather do it now than wait and have to hurriedly do it while it’s currently flooding,” said Jalayla Profili.
She explained they didn’t live in the house in 2018, when Grand Forks was hit with historical flooding, but were told by the previous homeowner water reached the baseboards.
The family’s home was under an evacuation alert on Wednesday. By Saturday, the whole street was under an evacuation alert. That was rescinded by Sunday afternoon.
Mandy Profili added she hopes for a repeat of 2020 flooding, which she described manageable.
Also on Friday, watching the river rise brought back memories of having to flee their home in 2018 for Jessica Enns, while walking near the north side of the Kettle River on Friday morning with two-and-a-half-year old son, Axel, and friend Jamie Green.
Enns said since then, she and husband Duke were part of the buyout to move people away from the hardest hit areas.
Among the construction and flowing water, Enns said overall she is happy city officials have been working hard to ensure other residents don’t go through what she did.