Homes in the flooded Ruckle neighbourhood of Grand Forks Saturday. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)

B.C. flood risk switches from snowmelt to rainfall: River Forecast Centre

Kootenays and Fraser River remain serious concerns

Extreme temperatures across the province have played a part in the rapid snowmelt that’s flooded interior B.C. in recent weeks, according to the River Forecast Centre.

“They’re typically about five degrees above normal for the past month now, which is exceptional,” said River Forecast Centre head David Campbell.

“Some daily temperatures have been 10 to 15 degrees above normal.”

Emergency BC executive Chris Duffy said that there are 36 local states of emergency, 40 evacuation orders and 68 evacuation alerts throughout the province.

However, the high temps mean that there isn’t as much snowpack left to keep the flooding going.

Snowpacks throughout the province have dropped “quite a bit” since the beginning of the month, Campbell said.

“The concern is really is shifting to any kind of severe rainfall” rather than snowpack melting, he added.

However, the snowpack stats reflect higher elevation snow and not the mid-elevation snow that has Campbell worried for regions like the higher-elevation Kootenays.

Both regions have seen heavy flooding in recent weeks, with Grand Forks seeing much of its population evacuated last week.

“The Kootenay region is where we have more significant snowpacks still available,” said Campbell.

“In terms of risk both from snowmelt and rain the Kootenays is where the risk is.”

However, looking down south towards the Fraser River, Campbell said that river levels were high enough for added snowmelt to cause “major responses.”

Currently, the Mission gauge is sitting at six metres, still below the 6.4 metres seen during the record flows of 2012.

READ MORE: Fraser River water levels creeping towards near-record highs

“We could see some additional rises this week as that additional melt comes in,” said Campbell.

“Because the flows are so high, we’re very vulnerable to any additional input.”

Agriculture minister Lana Popham said that so far, two dairy farms have been relocated on Barnston Island due to the flooding.

Popham said that province does not have figures available for how much farmland has been lost to the floods but urged farmers to sign up for Premise ID, the government’s program that links livestock and poultry to geographic locations” so that animals can be traced as evacuations occur.

In the Okanagan, the flood risk is shifting from snow melt to rainfall for the Similkameen River, said Campbell.

However, they don’t foresee “significant” rainfall in the coming week.

READ MORE: B.C. to match up to $20M in Red Cross donations for flood victims

The rate of Okanagan Lake rising has slowed significantly, said Shaun Reimer, who is the section head for public safety and protection in the Okanagan for the forests ministry.

“Okanagan Lake is rising at under three centimetres per day… certainly decreased from several weeks ago when we were seeing rises of six-seven centimetres,” said Reimer.

“That seems to be an ongoing trend. It’s indicative that the tributaries feeding Okanagan Lake are dropping”

Reimer said the lake level is currently sitting at 342.6 metres above sea level. That’s still 40 centimetres below where the province is asking local government to build flood protection measures up to, but the waters could continue to rise.

“If we see significant rainfall, we could hit 343 metres,” said Reimer.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Masset dodges empty-ballot bullet

After an extended deadline, Masset now has enough candidates for council

Sunny skies for Terry Fox Run

Queen Charlotte and Masset runs raise nearly $3,000 for cancer research

Masset short on council candidates, other communities okay

Nominations deadline for Masset council extended to 4 p.m. Monday

Fishing boat ‘Haida Legend’ sinks off Langara Island

All crew rescued by nearby sport fishers, boat was re-fitted in late 2016

Last day to run for Oct. 20 election

Candidates have until 4 p.m. today to file nomination packages

Canning sockeye by hand in North Coast B.C.

Arnie Nagy teaches the Northern View how to can salmon in Prince Rupert

Vancouver park board passes motion to learn Indigenous place names

The name of Vancouver’s Stanley Park is now up for debate as the city’s park board confronts its colonial past and pursues reconciliation.

Champ golfer from Spain killed in Iowa; suspect charged

Police said Celia Barquin Arozamena was found dead Monday morning at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, about 30 miles north of Des Moines.

Abdelrazik torture lawsuit delay would be unconscionable: lawyer

The federal government is making a last-minute plea to delay the Federal Court hearing

Trudeau upset after meeting with Saskatchewan chiefs

Trudeau is upset about how time was managed in a recent meeting

B.C. tent city ‘devastated’ after flash flood

Maple Ridge mayor says that residents shouldn’t have to return to their flooded tents

Filipino-Canadians concerned about family after typhoon hits Philippines

Typhoon Mangkhut has killed 66 people in the Philippines and four in China

Ottawa looks at having retired judge help guide renewed pipeline review process

The feds would only says that ‘multiple options were on the table’

Canada bans use of trans fats in food products

Trans fats are know to cause heart disease

Most Read