Rain swells Kootenay rivers, closes roads

The Trans Canada Highway is closed due to Alberta flooding, and other Kootenay highways are also affected

Highway 3 washout near Sparwood Thursday afternoon.

The B.C. River Forecast Centre issued a flood watch advisory Thursday after two days of heavy rain caused rivers in the West and East Kootenay region to rise close to the tops of their banks.

The Trans Canada Highway east of Golden was closed just after noon Thursday after multiple washouts and mudslides in Alberta. Parts of Calgary and other southern Alberta communities were evacuated as a major low-pressure system dumped between 60 and 130 mm of rain through the Columbia and Kootenay regions.

Highway 93 east of Radium was also closed due to multiple slides and washouts in Alberta.

A washout six km east of Sparwood reduced traffic on Highway 3 to one lane alternating traffic. B.C.’s traffic information system, DriveBC, reported that full closure may be necessary.

A mudslide closed Highway 31 in both directions 13 km north of Kaslo, and a second slide another 15 km north reduced the highway to single-lane traffic. Highway 31A was closed from New Denver to Kaslo due to a washout.

Rain was not as heavy in the Thompson-Okanagan, with 20 to 70 cm recorded Wednesday and Thursday.

The flood watch covers the West and East Kootenay Rivers and the smaller tributaries of the Upper and Lower Columbia region.

High streamflow warnings were maintained Thursday for the North Thompson, Salmon, Shuswap and Eagle Rivers, as well as Mission Creek in the Okanagan, the Kettle and Granby Rivers in the Boundary region and the Kicking Horse River in the Upper Columbia region.