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Flood watch for Pemberton, Lillooet areas as heatwave speeds snowmelt

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There are new flooding concerns in southwestern B.C. as the province bakes in a July heatwave.

The BC River Forecast Centre has issued a floodwatch for the Pemberton and Lillooet area, along with a high-streamflow advisory for the Sea-to-Sky region.

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The floodwatch covers the Lillooet River including Pemberton, Lillooet Lake, the Lillooet River and its tributaries.

“The Lillooet River watershed is comprised of unmonitored very high elevation snow and glacial contributions which can delay peak flows into the summer months,” the forecast centre warned.

“The recent hot weather is significantly melting high elevation snow and glaciers in the region.”

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According to the forecast centre, temperatures in Pemberton reached 39.1 C on Tuesday.

A gauge on the Lillooet River at Pemberton measured a significant increase overnight, suggesting the river is now above a two-year return period flow and could reach above a five-year return period flow with hot weather forecast to continue throughout the week.

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“The upcoming flows will be the highest recorded flows for late-July since measurements began on the Lillooet River near Pemberton in 1914,” it said.

The forecast centre said other rivers and creeks in the Sea-to-Sky region, including the Squamish River and its tributaries, are also rising significantly due to snowmelt from the heat wave.

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Backcountry users are warned to use extreme caution, and the general public is advised to steer clear of fast-flowing rivers and potentially unstable riverbanks.

 

 

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