Chance of flooding reduced

The need to keep children and pets away from fast-flowing streams and rivers remains, but flood worries can likely recede

High water: The BC Rivers Forecast Centre says that the Salmon River likely peaked on Friday, May 10 and should begin to recede in the coming weeks.

High water: The BC Rivers Forecast Centre says that the Salmon River likely peaked on Friday, May 10 and should begin to recede in the coming weeks.

The need to keep children and pets away from fast-flowing streams and rivers remains, but for Salmon Arm at least, flood worries can likely recede.

What happens on the Shuswap and Eagle rivers will depend on a combination of weather and how the upper-elevation snow melts.

David Campbell, hydrologist, geoscientist and head of BC River Watch, said Friday that while the  snow pillows that feed Salmon River and the Adams River were 120 per cent of normal on May 1 – thanks to new snow in April – mid elevation snow up to about 1,500 metres is almost gone.

Campbell says temperatures of 18 and 20 degrees Celsius have been recorded at both snow pillows, speeding up the melt of mid-level snow after a colder-weather delay.

“We’ve seen that in the small to mid-sized rivers in that terrain and I suspect we’ve reached the peak,” said Campbell of the Salmon River, which had reached the Salmon River Bridge deck last week. “Levels will remain elevated but I don’t think we’ll see much additional rise.”

He says, the Shuswap and Eagle rivers haven’t hit their peak yet as they are fed by higher-elevation snow.

“The Eagle River is below the level of concern but steadily climbing,” said Campbell.

“It will probably drop a bit but it could be affected by the rain. Monday and Tuesday could be critical time.”

He says officials are keeping an eye on the two rivers while noting last year’s melt was accompanied by frequent intense rainfalls.

Following a helicopter ride above Two Mile and Swansea Point last week, District of Sicamous chief administrative officer Heidi Frank said “there is absolutely nothing to worry about” at this time.

“We’re monitoring the creeks and taking precautions to stave off events like we had last year,” she said Friday. “At this point, there doesn’t appear to be any danger of flooding.”

In the meantime, Campbell says Shuswap Lake is still weeks away from peaking.

Residents and visitors to these regions are urged to use extreme caution on or near all waterways.

Flood waters can be fast-rising and fast-moving, carry large debris and make shorelines unstable.

Salmon Arm Observer

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