Flood watch issued for Fontas River in northeast B.C.

Snowmelt and precipitation have prompted the B.C. River Forecast Centre to issue a flood watch for the Fontas River in the province's northeast. Lower Trent Conservation/Facebook file

British Columbia’s River Forecast Centre has issued a flood watch for the Fontas River southeast of Fort Nelson.

The centre said snowmelt and wet weather have combined to bring flows on the river to between a five-year and 10-year return.

Read more: B.C.’s risk of spring flooding ‘considerably’ higher, report says

“There is uncertainty in the modelled forecast for the Fontas River, however conditions suggest that flows could exceed the 10-year return period over the weekend or early next week,” the forecast centre said.

Residents in the area have been urged to stay clear of the river and potentially unstable banks.

Click to play video: 'B.C. flooding: River Forecast Centre warns of ‘perfect storm’ conditions'
B.C. flooding: River Forecast Centre warns of ‘perfect storm’ conditions

On Friday, the centre ended a flood watch for Moffat Creek in the Cariboo region.

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Earlier this week, the centre issued a bulletin warning that the province was facing a “considerably” higher risk of spring flooding.

Read more: New interactive maps draw links between B.C.’s devastating 2021 fires and floods

Cooler-than-average temperatures throughout April and May have delayed snowmelt and the province’s average snowpack had actually increased from 99 per cent of normal on April 1 to 113 per cent of normal on May 1.

“Continued cool weather in May is increasing the risk for major flooding if a prolonged heat wave occurs later in the month or June,” the report said.

The centre urged communities to prepare, regardless of the current snowpack in the region.

— With files from Kristi Gordon

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