B.C. flood watch to intensify over next week

Heat wave speeding up snowmelt process

A unusually warm spring heat wave is raising flood warning concerns across the Okanagan and Shuswap regions over the next week, according to the B.C. River Forecast Centre.

Dave Campbell, head of the forecast centre, says the snow melting has been accelerated by temperatures trending six to eight degrees above the normal average, mixed with the potential for the heat to be briefly interrupted by rain later this week.

Related: Temperature soar to record-breaking heights in Kelowan, Vernon

“The weather will be critical over the few weeks,” Campbell explained. “There is a strong high pressure surge right now will a small potential disturbance that will generate rain leading into the long weekend, but that high pressure system is expected to rebuild and be more prolonged leading into next week.”

Campbell said in the South Okanagan, the rising Similkameen River is causing flooding headache, with a new peak level expected to be reached within the next three to five days.

He said flow projections of 800 cubic metres a second are anticipated for the peak freshet period, having already reached 600.

Related: Provincial aid for flood victims

“How high it goes will depend on a couple of pieces. One is how much snow at the higher elevation melts as from the snow perspective at some point that process will run out of gas, and what uncertainty the weather might bring through this week, as getting more rain will bump things up again,” he said.

Campbell said the Central and North Okanagan regions haven’t dodged a flood bullet yet, noting the mid-snow levels, 1,500 to 2,000 feet, are about two-thirds melted while the higher elevations above that are about 10 to 20 per cent melted.

“I think it would be premature to talk about dodging a bullet. Uncertainty over all rivers in the region right now makes them extremely vulnerable to flooding at this stage. The Mission Creek system and some around Vernon are very much in a transition period so we’ll find out more about the risk factor as that high elevation snow starts to melt at a higher rate,” he said.

Campbell added the Salmon River in the Shuswap, like the Similkameen, is another river that has already seen some peaks and valleys in its freshet enhanced flows.

“I think (the Salmon River) is one of those rivers where we have seen it peak, have seen it come down a bit, and now we are seeing it rise again. With a further warming trend the next four to seven days will be critical. If we get through that, then we should start to see improving conditions.”

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Most cows saved during massive fire on Agassiz farm thanks to fast work of farmers, neighbours

Agassiz Fire Department responded to late night call Wednesday

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Massive fire destroys Agassiz dairy barn

Reports say at least one cow died in the blaze

Chilliwack firefighter seeking to reunite Rosedale VFD’s old auxiliary fire pump with antique engine

It’s been four decades, but Pat Liebault is hoping to reunite Rosedale’s auxiliary pump and engine

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income people

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

Extradition hearing set for Lower Mainland developer accused of fraud

Mark Chandler will go before the B.C. Court of Appeals early next year.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Most Read