Grand Forks is one of several communities across the province to face flooding issues this spring. Photo: Contributed

Grand Forks is one of several communities across the province to face flooding issues this spring. Photo: Contributed

B.C. Interior flood risk diminishing

Snowmelt receding but rainfall impact remains a concern

The flood risk may be diminishing across the Thompson-Okanagan region but the wildfire season has already established its presence.

Wildfires broke out this week within the Kamloops Fire Region. The largest is the Allie Lake wildfire northwest of Kamloops burning an estimated 60 hectares and currently classified as out of control.

The evacuation order has been issued for the second fire near Xusum Creek, west of Lillooet, which is about 25 hectares in size.

Dave Campbell, head of the B.C. River Forecast Centre, said the upper elevation snowpack continues to rapidly melt, at a rate of 30 to 50 millimetres a day, which is downgrading flooding concerns for the Fraser, North Thompson and South Thompson rivers.

“We expect to see rises in both the North and South Thompson Rivers this weekend probably at about 30 centimetres above current levels. We got to similar levels last year and about a half-metre lower than what we saw in the 2012 flood year,” Campbell said.

He said the North Thompson will likely peak this weekend, the South Thompson a week to 10 days later.

Related: Rain, snowmelt pose flood concerns across B.C.

Campbell said the Kootenays remains a concern because of the remaining high elevation snowmelt feeding into the Slocan River, while the Shuswap River high flows are likely to impact Shuswap Lake and Mabel Lake, and potential impact on areas between Enderby and Lumby.

For the Okanagan Lake system, the dam release outflow and freshet inflow are expected to begin matching up within the next 10 days, said Sean Reimer, section head for public safety and protection with the provincial ministry of forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development.

Related: Unseasonable heat melts snowpack

“What we saw as a rising rate of three centimetres a day for Okanagan Lake has dropped back to two centimetres and current projections is to continue to see a reduction in how fast the lake is rising up,” Reimer said.

He said Okanagan Lake currently sits at 342.63 metres, about 15 cms over full pool.

“The one caveat there is we are still vulnerable to any significant rain in the next week to 10 days and we still have to work our way through June and the potential wet weather that could come there,” he added.

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@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

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