B.C. flood risk continues to diminish

But wildfire season already heating up in Southern Interior

As flooding concerns diminish across the province, concerns about wildfires and drought are beginning to percolate.

David Campbell, head of the BC River Forecast Centre, said favourable weather has mediated river flooding concerns across most of B.C. while increased rates of snow melting has bumped up the usual mid-June peak river period.

“We are seeing the accelerated snowpack melt continue in recent days from 40 to 100 per cent at the higher elevations,” said Campbell.

“We are several weeks ahead of the normal flood season river peak levels due to the extreme hot temperatures over the last month.”

Lingering potential flood issues still persist in the Kootenays, Campbell noted, but an absence of significant rainfall will lower the level of concern.

Related: Most Kootenay-Boundary flood evacuees allowed to return home

“The weather looks promising and the rivers depths didn’t really change that much on the Fraser River the past few days so that is a positive sign,” Campbell said.

He added the North Thompson River has likely peaked already and the South Thompson and Shuswap Lake are likely to do the same before the end of this week.

BC Wildfire crews empty sandbags as evacuation orders are rescinded for Grand Forks’ downtown. Photo: Katya Slepian/Black Press

Most river flood watch postings across the province have ended with a downgrade to high stream advisory also extended to the Shuswap River, Shuswap Lake, South Thompson River, lower Fraser River and Slocan River.

“I expect those high stream advisories will also be pulled down in the coming days,” Campbell said.

For Okanagan Lake, the water level is rising in millimetres rather than centimetres at this point, as the water discharge level into the South Okanagan system at the Penticton dam has been increased to 64 cubic metres per second, an increase of five cubic metres per second over last week.

With the outbreak of wildfires last week in the Thompson region and a West Kelowna neighbourhood, Chris Duffy, executive director of Emergency Planning B.C., said the time buffer between the wildfire and flooding seasons has all but disappeared.

“We used to see a period after flood season had pushed across the province where new grass growth in the spring would start to push up, giving us a bit of a breather between flood and fire season, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore,” said Duffy.

The early end to flood season also raises the spectre of potential drought conditions, depending on the level of rainfall over the next two months.

“Even back to 2014 and 2015, we have seen a transition of snowpack melt to earlier in the season which will put pressure on if the weather remains hot and dry like we have seen the last five or six weeks,” added Campbell.

“If those patterns continue, we are going to see more drought conditions later in the summer. But it’s still uncertain at this point where that will be going but it’s something we’ll be watching closely in the weeks ahead.”

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


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Lakestone community unveiled in Lake Country

Mayor Baker, MLA Norm Letnick and MP Stephen Fuhr joined in the ceremonial opening

Okanagan-Shuswap Weather: Summer sun for Sunday

The forecast for the week ahead shows some rain but plenty of sun and warm tempertures.

Update: Structure fire reported in Kelowna industrial area put out

A structure fire was reported just after 3:30 p.m. off Sexsmith Road

Kelowna e-scooter company foils downtown robberies

OGO Scooters staff helped return stolen property three times in 1st week of operations

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

Water quality makes swimming unsafe at three beaches near Salmon Arm

The Adams Lake Indian Band has issued a water qulity notice affecting beaches at three campgrounds.

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Second osprey chick dies, Okanagan web cam off

The second chick in an osprey nest featured on the Town of Osoyoos website has died

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

Fire department helps with body recovery in Okanagan Lake

Penticton fire department assisted the RCMP with the recovery of a body Saturday

Police on scene at Penticton beach

RCMP were at a what is believed to be a crime scene near Skaha Beach Sunday

Most Read