The situation may be a “holding pattern” right now, but the head of B.C.’s River Forecast Centre is concerned record water levels could lead to more flooding across the province.
Dave Campbell says there is hot weather in the forecast for many parts of the Okanagan, Kootenays and around Prince George. That heat, plus potential rain later next week, could cause major problems.
LISTEN: The latest on flooding in the Boundary region
“Prolonged hot, followed by an intense wet period, would be an extreme concern. The hot weather we have is particularly concerning for the flood outlook we have over the next seven days,” Campbell said.
WATCH HERE: Images of Grand Forks flooding 2018
The high snow pack, plus temperatures that in many areas are five degrees higher than normal, has led to flooding in multiple regions. The “extreme” weather has led to flows higher than expected in the Fraser Valley, with water working its way down from Prince George.
“It has come in waves, and each of those waves has challenged particular parts of the province,” Campbell said. “On the Fraser, in particular, we are a month earlier than normal seeing the kind of flows we normally see, and those flows are raising abnormally quickly.”
WATCH HERE: Archive footage of the widespread flooding in B.C. In 1948
“Water that is in the system takes a few days to work its way through from Prince George. We do not want the weather late next week to break down to heavy rainfall.”
There are currently 23 states of local emergency, with 31 evacuation orders affecting 1,993 homes. On top of that, there are 36 evacuation alerts, affecting 930 homes.
So far there haven’t been any major problems with getting people to leave their homes in the evacuation area.
“People are fairly cooperative. There are always people who do not want to leave their homes. They need to make those decisions personally, and they need to take action to ensure they are safe and their families are safe,” said Chris Duffy from Emergency Management BC.
The province has two million sandbags out, with 10 sandbag machines operating in the interior. B.C. has borrowed some machines from Saskatchewan.
The greatest challenge so far has been the sustained warm weather, followed by intense rainfall.
“In some ways, a kind of worst-case scenario of conditions leading into that: very warm weather in the last week, followed by very heavy rainfall,” Campbell said. “We are in a bit in a holding pattern now. If you look at the weather, the wet weather has worked its way through.”