A look back at the historic and devastating 2017 B.C. floods

·2 min read
A look back at the historic and devastating 2017 B.C. floods
A look back at the historic and devastating 2017 B.C. floods

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.

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On Thursday, May 4, 2017, a huge storm drenched areas of southeast British Columbia. The extreme amount of rain and the snowmelt caused creeks in the central Okanagan to overflow. Mill Creek flooded and the water rushed into homes and businesses. This led to road closures and evacuations.

On Saturday, May 6, a state of emergency was declared for Kelowna and West Kelowna. Residents tried to save their homes and belongings, so they waded through knee-deep water and did what they could to build protective blockades.

Kelowna, BC
Kelowna, BC

Kelowna, B.C., Courtesy The Weather Network

Provincial forestry workers and other volunteers helped residents sandbag their properties for several weeks. Even with all precautions, 300 people from central Okanagan still needed to evacuate.

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The severe flooding also caused mudslides. A mudslide near Salmon Arm engulfed a home and killed the resident. Another person was killed when he was swept away by a flooded waterway in Cache Creek.

Brent Ward, an earth sciences professor with Simon Fraser University, said the 2017 flooding seemed to be the worst since the late 1990s.

Winfield, BC
Winfield, BC

Winfield, B.C. Courtesy of Rod Romanow

Though Ward praised emergency officials, he suggested that maybe it's time for the flooded communities to reassess their living areas.

“The places that are flooding are on flood plains. I think people and municipalities have to start looking at how frequently do some of these areas flood and is it worth it for some of these people to be exposed to that kind of risk,” said Ward.

Penticton, BC Courtesy Rod Romanow
Penticton, BC Courtesy Rod Romanow

Penticton, B.C. Courtesy of Rod Romanow

To learn more about the extreme 2017 B.C. floods, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History".

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Thumbnail: Penticton, BC. Courtesy of Rod Romanow

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