(Black Press Media files)

(Black Press Media files)

Higher-than-normal snowpacks mean parts of B.C. at risk of flooding

Two days of intense rain in May that year caused the worst flooding seen in 70 years

Residents in several British Columbia communities are being warned to prepare the sandbags and to remember social distancing measures if they’re helping their neighbours protect property from potential flooding.

Jonathan Boyd, a hydrologist with the B.C. River Forecast Centre, said Friday Prince George and the surrounding region are most at risk of flooding from upstream snowpacks that are near record levels.

One snow station that goes back 61 years was at its highest level ever when the latest measurements were taken on April 1, he said.

“The worst-case scenario, and it’s pretty well for any part of the province that’s susceptible to snow-melt flooding, is that if we have a cold April or even early May, so that’s a lack of snowmelt, and then we switch to extraordinary heat so in Prince George that would be 25 degrees over five to 10 days,” he said.

“That would result in a rapid melt of the snow all at once. And then an extra worse-case scenario would be having the rain fall on top of that.”

Quesnel and Grand Forks are among the communities that could be most impacted due to rapid snowmelt in Prince George.

Catastrophic flooding in parts of southern B.C. in the spring of 2018 forced nearly 2,800 people to flee, with Grand Forks hit particularly hard as homes were submerged in murky, brown water.

Two days of intense rain in May that year caused the worst flooding seen in 70 years.

READ MORE: Largest April snowpack in decades poses high flood risk to Fraser Valley

Kamloops is also at high risk of flooding because of the highest water levels since 1999 in the north and south parts of the Thompson River combined, Boyd said.

The regions of Kamloops, Prince George and Quesnel make up about 65 per cent of the water that eventually comes down through the lower Fraser Valley and any flooding above could affect Delta and Richmond, he said.

“The absolute worst-case scenario would have to occur but the snowpack is very high for the Fraser River,” he said of the largest river in the province.

The snowpack on April 1, 2018 was 127 per cent of normal and this year it’s 112 per cent, Boyd said.

“However, the areas of key concern this year are a lot higher than that year.”

Chris Keam, spokesman for the Cariboo Regional District, said water levels are rising in some areas and any widespread evacuations would cause challenges in housing people due to physical distancing measures during the pandemic.

“It’s getting warm up here and it’s raining today,” Keam said, adding free sandbags and sand are available at four fire halls in the region.

“We’re hoping that people can be prepared and ready to protect their property and have a plan if they need to leave,” he said.

The City of Kamloops is providing sand at two sites but residents are required to bring their own shovels and stay at least two metres apart while filling sandbags.

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Just Posted

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

The Pool at the Esquimalt Rec Centre. (Courtesy of theTownship of Esquimalt/ Facebook)
Esquimalt Rec Centre restarting everyone welcome swim times later this month

The 90-minute sessions will be on select evenings and weekends

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

Most Read