Warming weather in the province is leading to heightened concern over possible flood risks, according to officials.
An evacuation alert has been issued for the Bulkley River area by the Town of Smithers, late Thursday afternoon.
“The town of Smithers has issued an evacuation alert for the low laying areas around the Bulkley River: Riverside Drive, Riverside Park Campground, and the Smithers Fall Fair Grounds,” wrote Town of Smithers staff in a release.
High streamflow advisories have been issued for B.C.’s South Interior, and the high streamflow advisory has been upgraded to a flood watch for the Bulkley River area, including surrounding tributaries around Telkwa and Smithers.
Nicola River, Coldwater River, Spius Creek, Similkameen River, Tulameen River, Salmon River, Kettle River and Granby River have all been issued high streamflow advisories with temperatures expected to warm steadily over the coming days, coupled with potential rainfall.
“There’s definitely uncertainty around the amount of rainfall and where the heaviest rainfall is going to hit, and it’s really the big driver for what we’re going to see over the next period,” Dave Campbell said, B.C. River Forecast Centre’s head.
Steady warming this week is leading to increasing snowmelt rates and river runoff, according to the B.C. River Forecast Centre.
Daily maximum temperatures have been reaching the low to mid-20 C range and are expected to reach similar levels on Thursday.
“While low and mid-elevation snowpack is now depleted, higher elevation areas (above 1,600 metres) have experienced a delayed melt this year, and significant snowpacks remain,” B.C. River Forecast Centre, said in a release.
“A low-pressure system is expected to impact B.C.’s Southern Interior on Friday, bringing unsettled weather and repeated periods of moderate to heavy rainfall across the region over the weekend and into next week.”
People are being warned to stay away from any fast-moving rivers, unstable river banks and to be prepared for potential floods if they’re in high risk areas.