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Rainstorm leads to warning, high river advisory

Last June, the Kootenay River flooded over the Highway 93/95 bridge in Skookumchuck. A High Streamflow Advisory has been issued for East Kootenay rivers. - Mike Turner photo/Townsman file
Last June, the Kootenay River flooded over the Highway 93/95 bridge in Skookumchuck. A High Streamflow Advisory has been issued for East Kootenay rivers.
— image credit: Mike Turner photo/Townsman file

Near the first anniversary of the monumental rain storm that hit southeastern B.C. and southern Alberta, meteorologists and forecasters have again warned that significant rain will hit the same area this week.

Environment Canada issued a rainfall warning for the Elk Valley on Tuesday, June 17, warning that the area could see rainfalls amounts up to 50 millimetres before early evening Wednesday.

"There is a lot of rainfall warnings across southern Alberta right now," said meteorologist David Jones. "That's for a storm that is moving south of Alberta. The circulation, the swirling air around it, is coming from southern Alberta and wrapping back towards the Rocky Mountains. So some of that moisture is going to spill over the Rockies."

On June 20, 2013, a rainstorm flooded southern Alberta and southeastern B.C. The East Kootenay received about 80 millimetres of rain in that storm, Jones said. It was enough to cause flooding in the Elk Valley and Columbia Valley, and destroyed countless forestry roads around the region.

"Right now, it looks like a slightly different situation. There is still a lot of rain forecast but more of it is located over southern Alberta as opposed to up against the slopes of the Rockies," said Jones.

Pincher Creek and Cardston are forecast to receive the most rain this week – up to 200 millimetres before Thursday.

Meanwhile, Cranbrook will be wet but is not expected to see nearly as much rain through Wednesday.

"By the time you get to Cranbrook, we really don't expect all that much (rainfall)," said Jones. "The forecast for Cranbrook is 5 to 10 millimetres Tuesday night, and the chance of showers in the afternoon and evening Wednesday."

However, the rainfall warning has led the B.C. River Forecast Centre to issue a High Streamflow Advisory for the East Kootenay region. Rivers around Sparwood, Fernie and Cranbrook are expected to rise through Wednesday in response to the rainfall on the Rockies.

The Regional District of East Kootenay has established self-fill sandbag stations around the region for anyone wanting to take preventative measures on flood prone properties. The stations have sand and sandbags (users need to bring shovels, gloves and so on) and are set up in the following locations:

• City of Cranbrook Gravel Pit – Cobham Avenue

• Wasa Community Hall – 6145 Wasa School Road

• Centennial Hall in Kimberley – 100-4th Ave

• Hosmer Pub – 2360 Highway 3

• Jaffray Community Hall – Jaffray Village Loop Road

• Public can also access bags at Fernie and Sparwood Works Yards

• Fairmont – corner of Fairmont Springs Drive and Fairway Drive

• Windermere Fire Hall – 1627 Highway 93/95

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