A shift in weather has prompted renewed flood concerns across the Southern Interior, prompting a warning for residents living in trouble spots to get prepared.
“What we’re seeing really is a culmination of a week of very hot weather that’s really accelerated snowmelt rates and we see rivers around the province being very high,” David Campbell, with the B.C. River Forecast Centre said.
“We see a fairly significant weather pattern change, with kind of a low-pressure system working its way across the province, bringing probably a couple of days of moderate to heavy rain through a number of regions of the province.
“With the rivers very full we’re expecting sort of an upswing and increase in flood hazard over the next couple of days.”
Campbell said those living in flood-prone areas should get ready now, should the worst happen.
“(Water levels are) going to come up very quickly when the rain starts to fall, if it does,” he said. “So if you need advance time to be prepared to get ready for this event, that now’s the time to do that… So, if you’re living on Mission Creek in the Okanagan, for example, now it’s probably a good time to prepare. If you’re at the Shuswap, now’s a good time to get prepared.”
Multiple thunderstorm watches and warnings were issued in recent days by the Environment and Climate Change Canada.
On Monday, convective precipitation is expected to continue with 15 to 25 millimeters of precipitation possible through the region, the River Forecast Centre said.
Heavy rainfall is expected on Tuesday, over much of the North Thompson, South Thompson and Bonaparte River watersheds.
Rainfall totals could range from 20-40 mm, with higher amounts expected on east-facing mountain slopes.
The river forecast service pointed out that a similar weather pattern caused flooding on Mission Creek near Kelowna in June 2022.
A Flood Watch has been called for the Shuswap, Bonaparte River, North Thompson, South Thompson and Okanagan.
High streamflow advisories have been issued for the Similkameen, Nicola, Thompson River In higher elevation fed watersheds, rivers have reached relatively high levels for this time of year due to accelerated snowmelt runoff from this past week.
Already, on the Shuswap River, flows are 424 m3/s, which is nearing five-year flow, and it’s expected to get more intense.
The North Thompson River leveled off at approximately 2,090 m3/s at the Water Survey of Canada gauge at McLure from the recent heat. Additional rises are possible in the upcoming week with moderate to heavy rainfall forecast for Tuesday in the North Thompson headwaters.