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BC Wildfire crews empty sandbags as evacuation orders are rescinded for Grand Forks’ downtown.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

Motorcyclist in stable condition after weekend accident in Mission

Air ambulance brought in to transport man to hospital

PHOTOS: Mission Chamber celebrates 125 years

A new logo was unveiled at the event which included a chili competition

VIDEO: Large fire at Abbotsford auto wrecker

Crews responding to reports of multiple buildings on fire in industrial area

Former Abbotsford gangster arrested for drug operation in India

Jimi Sandhu, deported in 2016, accused of owning drug-manufacturing facility

Murdered Mission woman’s final words, ‘I love you, Mom’

It took 10 years, but Lisa Dudley’s mother finally found out what her daughter said before she passed

Homeless people living on ‘Surrey Strip’ move into modular housing

BC Housing says 160 homeless people are being moved into temporary Whalley suites from June 19 to 21

B.C. RCMP looking for $70,000 in stolen collector cash

Money, in Canadian and Chinese denominations, goes missing in Chilliwack

Port of Prince Rupert names Shaun Stevenson as new CEO

Stevenson has worked for the port for 21 years as vice president of trade development

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of B.C. couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Five B.C. families stuck in Japan as Canada refuses visas for adopted babies

Lawyer points to change in American policy around adoptions from Japan

Most Read