Monday’s flash flooding triggered the city of Penticton to declare a local state of emergency as the one in 10 year rain event flooded homes, roads and public infastructure across the city.
Penticton’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) had to be opened and is now focusing on recovery and support for the many impacted residents.
In total, the EOC received 86 calls for flood damage on Monday, with 16 people evacuated from their homes after the structures were deemed uninhabitable. According to Environment Canada, starting at 2 p.m., about 12.3 millimetres of rain fell in 45 minutes time in Penticton. While the same amount of rain fell in Summerland and other parts of South Okanagan, Penticton was the only town impacted by major flooding.
“This was a very unique event with a short burst of rain at 2 p.m. We have city staff who have worked here 20 or 30 years and have never experienced anything like it,” said Anthony Haddad, the EOC director during a press conference Tuesday.
All 86 flooded homes received an initial rapid damage assessment from Penticton Fire Department. The properties were revisited on Tuesday to confirm conditions.
The flooding wasn’t localized to one part of the city but took place across the region from higher elevations to downtown, said Haddad.
Public works crews are also assessing the impact from the flash floods on city infrastructure and ensuring all systems are operational, said Haddad. Many storm drain covers saw water spouting out of them during Monday’s storm.
Despite the deluge of water, Penticton’s infrastructure appears to have held up, said Haddad.
There were 50 firefighters, city engineers and building inspectors working into the night doing damage assessments.
The city also received reports of dangerous driving conditions on Penticton roads. Drivers dealt with pooling water, gravel, debris and large rocks. Public Works crews were clearing roads into Tuesday.
Drivers were asked to stay away from the Channel Parkway near the Ford dealership as smaller vehicles might not get through the high water pooled under the bridge.
One resident took to Penticton Facebook to say that they finally found a home that was pet-friendly and now they have been flooded out. Another person showed a video of how in less than five minutes, several inches of water filled the backyard and spilled into the basement on Duncan Avenue.
But the weather forecast looks promising, said Haddad. Thursday is the only day showing thunderstorms followed by a stretch of warm, dry weather.
Residents who have concerns about the safety of their homes are asked to contact 250-490-2307 ext. 7 to receive a rapid damage assessment. Minor landslides were confirmed on Evergreen Drive.
If you were told to evacuate due to the flooding, call ESS at 1-833-498-3770 and a team member will support you and your family. Residents affected by flooding are advised to contact insurance companies immediately and consider hiring professionals for assistance with cleanup.
Sandbags are available at the Public Works Yards at 616 Okanagan Avenue.
The Emergency Support Services Reception Centre is open at 199 Ellis St.