B.C. flood risk continues to diminish

But wildfire season already heating up in Southern Interior

As flooding concerns diminish across the province, concerns about wildfires and drought are beginning to percolate.

David Campbell, head of the BC River Forecast Centre, said favourable weather has mediated river flooding concerns across most of B.C. while increased rates of snow melting has bumped up the usual mid-June peak river period.

“We are seeing the accelerated snowpack melt continue in recent days from 40 to 100 per cent at the higher elevations,” said Campbell.

“We are several weeks ahead of the normal flood season river peak levels due to the extreme hot temperatures over the last month.”

Lingering potential flood issues still persist in the Kootenays, Campbell noted, but an absence of significant rainfall will lower the level of concern.

Related: Most Kootenay-Boundary flood evacuees allowed to return home

“The weather looks promising and the rivers depths didn’t really change that much on the Fraser River the past few days so that is a positive sign,” Campbell said.

He added the North Thompson River has likely peaked already and the South Thompson and Shuswap Lake are likely to do the same before the end of this week.

BC Wildfire crews empty sandbags as evacuation orders are rescinded for Grand Forks’ downtown. Photo: Katya Slepian/Black Press

Most river flood watch postings across the province have ended with a downgrade to high stream advisory also extended to the Shuswap River, Shuswap Lake, South Thompson River, lower Fraser River and Slocan River.

“I expect those high stream advisories will also be pulled down in the coming days,” Campbell said.

For Okanagan Lake, the water level is rising in millimetres rather than centimetres at this point, as the water discharge level into the South Okanagan system at the Penticton dam has been increased to 64 cubic metres per second, an increase of five cubic metres per second over last week.

With the outbreak of wildfires last week in the Thompson region and a West Kelowna neighbourhood, Chris Duffy, executive director of Emergency Planning B.C., said the time buffer between the wildfire and flooding seasons has all but disappeared.

“We used to see a period after flood season had pushed across the province where new grass growth in the spring would start to push up, giving us a bit of a breather between flood and fire season, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore,” said Duffy.

The early end to flood season also raises the spectre of potential drought conditions, depending on the level of rainfall over the next two months.

“Even back to 2014 and 2015, we have seen a transition of snowpack melt to earlier in the season which will put pressure on if the weather remains hot and dry like we have seen the last five or six weeks,” added Campbell.

“If those patterns continue, we are going to see more drought conditions later in the summer. But it’s still uncertain at this point where that will be going but it’s something we’ll be watching closely in the weeks ahead.”

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Drugs and guns seized by Chilliwack Mounties in complex case

Drug trafficking investigations led to five arrests in three different locations across Chilliwack

Chilliwack RCMP trying to catch robbery suspect

Police hope someone will identify the person who appears in security camera footage

Chilliwack churns out new generation of wildfire fighters

School district partners with B.C. Wildfire Service to prep Grade 12s for careers

Bucket-list flight for Chilliwack grandmother

Hampton House resident treated to a beautiful plane ride in Moments that Matter

UFV introduces first mindfulness graduate program in Canada

Most of the University of the Fraser Valley program is offered online

Stolen Bentley spotted going wrong way down highway found in Summerland

The car has been recorded going the wrong way on the Coquihalla, found two days later

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Vancouver-bound transit bus involved in fatal crash near Seattle

One man was killed and a woman injured in crash with bus purchased by TransLink

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

Most Read