(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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The new council for Hupacasath First Nation. From left to right: Councillor Ricky-Lee Watts, Chief Councillor Brandy Lauder, Councillor Jolleen Dick and Councillor Warren Lauder. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Hupacasath First Nation chooses new chief councillor, council

First change of leadership in a decade for Vancouver Island nation

A trailer with fire damage is taped off by the Port Alberni Fire Department at the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Fire knocked down at Wintergreen Apartments trailer

City is concerned about zoning, building code and fire code infractions surrounding the trailers

File photo of Gord Johns during World Oceans Day.
Courtenay-Alberni MP outlines priorities for federal budget

Universal pharmacare, affordable housing and Pacific wild salmon are some of the… Continue reading

Alberni Valley Bulldogs forward Lukas Jirousek pokes the puck away from Grizzlies forward Henri Schreifels during a game at the Alberni Valley Multiplex on Sunday, April 11, 2021. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BCHL: Career night for Castagna can’t lift Alberni Valley Bulldogs past Victoria

Back-and-forth affair between Bulldogs and Grizzlies ends 7-5 for visiting team

Logging Camp Nine on Great Central Lake overlooks a large forest fire across the lake in this historical photo from May 1943. Camp Nine was bustling, with residences for logging camp staff, a rail line and rail cars visible. This is one of 24,000 photos contained in the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives, available for public viewing at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN12220 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: Great Central Lake’s sawmill

Take a peek at Alberni Valley history with the Alberni Vally Museum

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

The Campbell River Gun Club outdoor range is located on Argonaut Road west of Campbell River. CRGC/Facebook photo
Campbell River Gun Club range shut down after complaints of stray bullets

Neighbour says bullets hit caretaker’s RV and shattered a glass panel on his deck

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s Green Point Campground saw an unprecedented flurry of reservations last week. (Pacific Rim National Park Reserve photo)
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve campground sees ‘unprecedented’ interest

Reservations being accepted as Green Point Campground scheduled to open May 1

Restaurant owners Oura and Kymon Giakoumakis visit the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PODCAST: COVID-19 pandemic hits Island’s food service industry hard

Pair of Vancouver Island restaurant owners share thoughts and advice

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward
1 in 3 young Canadians have given up on owning a home: poll

Data released Monday says 36% of adults younger than 40 have given up on home ownership entirely

A Nanaimo man will serve nine months in jail for the sexual assault of a young girl he admitted to having committed more than 40 years ago. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo man sentenced for sexually abusing girl more than 40 years ago

Man, now 71, gets nine-month sentence for abuse of friend’s daughter

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. urges people to stay in their neighbourhoods, discourages out-of-household meet-ups

Dr. Bonnie Henry says there should be no travel, even to the next city over

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Most Canadians plan to get COVID-19 vaccine, but safety fears drive hesitancy: poll

This comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the pandemic

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read