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Flood preparedness as some rivers, creeks put on high streamflow advisories in B.C.’s Southern Interior

Click to play video 'River, creek levels rising in Okanagan and surrounding regions' River, creek levels rising in Okanagan and surrounding regions
The potential for flooding has residents and local governments across the region watching water levels closely – May 7, 2020

Residents and local governments in the Okanagan and surrounding region are getting ready for the threat of flooding as temperatures climb and the snow melts.

For example, the B.C River Forecast has issued a high streamflow advisory for the West Kettle, Kettle and Granby rivers within the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.

“We’ve got a regional flood response plan that we are implementing,” said Frances Maika, communications officer with the RDKB.

“We’ve got different trigger points depending on the levels of the rivers that we know we have to take certain actions, so we have an advanced freshet planning team in place.”

READ MORE: Stay away from fast-moving rivers and creeks: Kootenay Boundary regional district alert

The RDKB includes Grand Forks, where in 2018 the city saw catastrophic flooding.

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While there is no prediction of that type of disastrous flooding this year, according to the B.C. River Forecast, hydrologic modelling shows the potential for streamflow in the two- to five-year return period range.

“To frame that up, that is a little higher than an average freshet,” Maika told Global News. “We’ve got most of the mid slope elevation snow gone we’ve got that big high elevation snow pack.

“That’s about 119 per cent of normal and we are just watching, waiting and encouraging people to be prepared.”

READ MORE: Okanagan’s high snowpack cause for concern as flood season approaches

Residents in the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) are also being told to be flood ready, especially those living near the Salmon River.

It, too, has been put on a highstream flow advisory by the B.C. River Forecast.

“We’re supporting the residents with sand and sandbags in that area,” said Derek Sutherland, team leader of protective services with the CSRD.

“We’re seeing a number of tributaries that are feeding Shuswap Lake getting fairly swollen…at this point we don’t have anything in full flood but we’re keeping an eye on things.”

Click here for more information on the B.C. River Forecast Centre and all of its advisories.

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