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More evacuations ordered as B.C. ice jam grows

Water from the Nechako River has overflowed, flooding nearby businesses and homes.

An ice jam described as unstable and unpredictable forced more residents to leave their homes in Prince George, B.C., on Saturday.

About 40 evacuation notices were delivered Saturday morning to people in a low-lying area of the city as officials examined a trail of slushy ice extending for six kilometres along the Nechako River.

In total, about 50 evacuation orders have been issued over the past week.

Another 12 business owners were ordered to leave, while a number of businesses in a light industrial area along River Road remained closed on the weekend because flooding made them inaccessible.

B.C. Solicitor General John Les flew over the area in a helicopter Saturday and said there is some hope that the ice in the river may break up as the weather warms. If it doesn't, ice experts will assess what else could be done to unplug the rivers.

"We have to take a look at if there is possibly something we can do on the river itself to break up that ice and get it moving," Les said.

Basements flooded

Don Schaffer, a public information officer with the city, said it's difficult to tell at this time how much damage the water and ice have caused. He said basements have filled with water and some homes have been cut off from main roads because their driveways are flooded.

Dikes have been installed in low-lying areas and will continue to be placed in other areas to keep the water in place.

Prince George is at the confluence of the Fraser River, which runs all the way to Vancouver — about 700 kilometres — and the Nechako River, which is one of its main tributaries.

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