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High streamflow advisory issued for Tulameen River

A wrecked truck carried away by the Tulameen River during last month's flooding. Travis Lowe / Global News

A high streamflow advisory has been issued for the Tulameen River in B.C.’s Southern Interior.

The province’s River Forecast Centre issued the advisory on Thursday, at noon, stating that an incoming Pacific frontal system this weekend will bring rain at lower areas and snow at higher elevations.

“Freezing levels are currently forecast to rise between 1,000 and 1,500 metres, resulting in rain and above-freezing temperatures at mid-to-low elevations,” said the Ministry of Forests.

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“Current weather and hydrologic forecasts indicate a portion of this precipitation could fall as rain within the headwaters of the Tulameen River, translating into the potential for higher river flows especially within the smaller, upstream parts of this watershed.”

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The ministry said river impacts will depend on how much precipitation falls as rain, how much of the watershed receives rain, and how high freezing levels climb on Saturday.

The ministry also said forecasts indicate the potential for increased flows beginning Saturday and peaking into Sunday to Monday.

“At this point, forecasts for the Tulameen at Princeton are lower than peaks experienced at the end of November and early December,” said the ministry.

“This pulse of water will cause the downstream Similkameen River to rise Sunday into Monday.”

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However, the ministry said the Similkameen River is currently not part of this high streamflow advisory as forecasts indicate potential rises below two-year return period flows.

The public is advised to stay clear of the fast-flowing rivers and potentially unstable riverbanks during the high streamflow period.

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A high streamflow advisory means that river levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly, but that no major flooding is expected, though minor flooding in low-lying areas is possible.

A flood watch means that river levels are rising and will approach or may exceed banks. Flooding of areas adjacent to affected rivers may occur.

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