Search for missing B.C. woman on hold as flooding prompts emergency preparations in the Okanagan

·2 min read
The swollen banks of the Mission Creek near Kelowna, B.C., are pictured on Wednesday. Crews have paused the search for a woman who vanished in the area early that morning. (Tom Popyk/CBC - image credit)
The swollen banks of the Mission Creek near Kelowna, B.C., are pictured on Wednesday. Crews have paused the search for a woman who vanished in the area early that morning. (Tom Popyk/CBC - image credit)

Rescue crews have suspended the search for a woman missing near an overflowing creek in Kelowna, B.C., as water levels in the area continue to run dangerously high.

Chelsea Cardno, 31, has not been seen since setting out for a walk with her dog near Mission Creek on Wednesday morning. Family members have been scouring the area, but the swollen river banks of the flooding creek have been too unstable for them to get close safely.

"Between all of her friends up and down the greenway and our family members ... and the search and rescue, we've got as many [people] out as we can," said Cardno's cousin, Tanya Rudolph, standing at the surging creek's edge.

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue (COSAR) said the search for Cardno is expected to resume Saturday. Cardno's dog is missing as well, COSAR said.

Kelowna RCMP
Kelowna RCMP

Emergency operations centre opened in Penticton

Meanwhile, an emergency operations centre has been opened in Penticton in response to rising waters levels on Okanagan Lake.

A statement from the city says the lake level is still within the normal range, but rain is in the forecast and the snowmelt has been delayed by weeks.

The statement says the proactive measure will allow the city to access resources and co-ordinate its efforts.

Centre director Anthony Haddad says they recognize it will be a slow-moving event, and opening the centre will give them time to prepare for protective measures.

The lake is far from the record levels set during flooding in 2017, but the city will start sourcing barriers and sand to protect the lakeshore, and residents on low-lying properties along the lake are urged to prepare for possible flooding.

Tom Popyk/CBC
Tom Popyk/CBC

In the central coast region, the River Forecast Centre has upgraded a flood watch for the Bella Coola and Dean rivers and their surrounding tributaries, saying snowmelt is leading to high flows with periods of rain or showers in the forecast.

Flood watches are also posted for the north Thompson and Quesnel rivers, along with tributaries of the south Thompson in the Shuswap region.

High streamflow advisories are in place for the south Thompson River, the Nicola River and waterways in the west and east Kootenay regions.

A flood warning covering the Liard River and its tributaries between Fort Nelson and Watson Lake in northeastern B.C. remains unchanged, as does the high streamflow advisory for most waterways across the northwest corner of the province.

Local states of emergency remain in place for Kelowna and Sparwood.

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