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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Road in B.C. north Okanagan washed out, cutting power to hundreds

Ministry of Transportation workers examine a large pile of debris of trees have taken out the bridge and road on Mable Lake Road along with power lines some 25 kilometres east of Enderby, B.C. on Friday, May 2, 2104. Some localized flooding is causing problems in the North Okanagan region. Vernon Search and Rescue teams have been scrambled due to concerns some residents may have been cut off by the high water. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett

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Ministry of Transportation workers examine a large pile of debris of trees have taken out the bridge and road on Mable Lake Road along with power lines some 25 kilometres east of Enderby, B.C. on Friday, May 2, 2104. Some localized flooding is causing problems in the North Okanagan region. Vernon Search and Rescue teams have been scrambled due to concerns some residents may have been cut off by the high water. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett

ENDERBY, B.C. - A rush of water and debris rumbled down a creek Friday in B.C.'s north Okanagan, washing out a section of road and cutting power to hundreds of residents.

The washout, which was one of several weather related incidents in the province, occurred at about 6 a.m. along Cooke Creek, about 25 kilometres east of the community of Enderby.

David Sewell, a spokesman for the North Okanagan Regional District, said the summertime influx of seasonal residents has not yet occurred so the washout cut off only about 200 people.

"Right now we've got no evidence to suggest anybody was injured or even around when this debris flow occurred," he said.

Leigh Pearson of Vernon Search and Rescue said a huge amount of debris came down the creek.

"There was a bridge there that is also now gone, completely gone like there is not even a trace of it left," said Pearson. "It's big. There's a lot of people trapped on the wrong side of it, unfortunately, that can't get back out."

Pearson said the slide created an "impressive" and "huge" debris field, which members of his organization searched.

"There were a couple of people unaccounted for but we managed to track them down and all is good."

BC Hydro spokesman Dag Sharman said four power poles came down and about 700 customers lost power, which was expected to take only about eight hours to restore once workers are able to access the site.

"It's access that will cause the big delay, and so our crews can't get in there until that road is fixed enough that we can actually drive in there," said Sharman.

The washout likely occurred when debris, which was caught in the creek upstream, gave way under increasing pressure from the water, said Sewell.

He said the regional district is flying officials into the community by helicopter, and they'll be bringing along bottled water and satellite phones.

Sewell said the regional district is asking locals to conserve water and stay in their homes, and the Ministry of Transportation estimates the road could reopen on Monday morning.

About 40 kilometres to the north in the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, seven properties remain under evacuation order after a landslide hit McIntyre Creek last month.

Cathy Semchuk of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District said a consultant's report confirmed there were some unstable areas on a local hillside so the order remains in effect.

Highway 23 north of Revelstoke and Highway 31 in the Kootenays were closed earlier Friday because of mudslides were reopened by mid-afternoon.

(CKIZ, The Canadian Press)

-- by Keven Drews in Vancouver

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