© Andy Clark, Reuters
A house is surrounded by water after the Fraser River burst its banks in Chilliwack, British Columbia June 24, 2012. Authorities have issued an evacuation order for 165 homes in Fraser Valley.
Hundreds of British Columbians are away from their homes, others are without clean drinking water and one person is dead after a weekend of heavy rain flooded homes and washed away roads in several areas of the province.
Weeks of rapid snowmelt and wet weather have caused river levels to rise in the B.C. Interior, the Kootenay region and the Fraser Valley, and a weekend of heavy rain and violent thunderstorms have pushed many rivers and creeks in those areas to the brink.
Hardest hit was Sicamous, a community of about 3,100 people north of Kelowna, where about 350 people were ordered to leave their homes due to flooding along the Sicamous and Hummingbird creeks.
At least one home was swept away, and many more homes and dozens of cars were damaged after flash floods tore through Sicamous, where the local district declared a state of emergency.
"It's total devastation and disaster," said 65-year-old Judy Latosky, who saw Sicamous Creek spill its banks before fleeing her home with her twin five-year-old granddaughters.
"Parts of the bank were just falling off in chunks. We lost all of our backyard and now it's just boulders. ... I looked in this morning and the basement is half full of mud and water. It's a total loss."
Sicamous residents using the Mara Lake water system were told not to use their tap water for drinking, cooking or bathing - even after boiling it. A notice posted to the district's website said the main plumbing system was not in operation and no water was entering the system.
The district was handing out water at its offices.
All schools in the Sicamous area are closed until further notice.
The SPCA has also offered to help residents find emergency boarding for their pets.
By Monday, the weather appeared to be improving as officials assessed the damage, but Sicamous Mayor Darrell Trouton warned the worst may not be over because of water at higher elevations.
"We had snowmobilers that were up above indicating that we had continuous rain in the upper levels, and there were ravines with water flow that they've never seen before," said Trouton.
"We can't have a false sense of security saying that it's over down here."
In the Kootenays, a 72-year-old man was killed after he was swept away along with a bridge over Goose Creek, north of Castlegar. On Monday, the BC Coroners Service identified him as Edward Posnikoff of Crescent Valley.
Posnikoff was standing on a bridge at the edge of his property on Saturday evening as the bridge collapsed. A family member saw Posnikoff fall into the creek, prompting a search that ended Sunday morning, when his body was found about a kilometre downstream.
The Regional District of Central Kootenay ordered 30 homes evacuated in the area where Posnikoff died.
In the village of Kaslo, in southeastern B.C. about 70 kilometres north of Nelson, a mudslide wiped out the local dam, forcing the community to switch to its emergency water supply and impose strict water conservation measures on residents.
Southeast of Kelowna, a local state of emergency was declared in the rural Joe Rich area, where high water levels along Mission Creek put residents at fourteen properties on evacuation alert.
Of particular concern was a trailer that had partially washed off its foundation. Emergency officials were concerned the trailer could tip into the creek, sweeping downstream and wiping out any other bridges or infrastructure.
There were smaller evacuations in other areas, such as in Valemount, just west of the B.C.-Alberta boundary near Jasper, Alta., and residents in a number of communities have been told to be ready to leave at a moment's notice.
Meanwhile, water levels along the Fraser River in the Fraser Valley appeared to be dropping, easing the flood risk there.
The City of Abbotsford had issued an evacuation order for residents of Glen Valley and Matsqui Prairie, but the order was lifted Monday morning. An alert remained in effect, with residents told to be ready to leave again at a moment's notice.
But the flooding risk is far from over.
The province's River Forecast Centre has warned a surge of water from the province's north is expected to flow into the lower Fraser River by next weekend, filling the river to its highest levels since 1972.