Volunteer Dave Hadley posts a sign regarding COVID-19 precautions for citizens who are filling sandbags. For residents concerned about potential flooding of the Salmon River, sand and bags are available at the Silver Creek and Falkland fire halls. (Columbia Shuswap Regional District image)

Salmon River upgraded to flood watch, residents warned to protect property

Forecast of high temperatures, rain could lead to rapid rise in waters in North Okanagan, Shuswap

  • May. 26, 2020 12:00 a.m.

The waters of the Salmon River are on the rise, prompting a warning from B.C.’s River Forecast Centre.

On Tuesday, May 26, the centre upgraded the high streamflow advisory for the Salmon River to a flood watch.

An earlier flood watch for the Bonaparte River is being maintained.

The forecast centre is also maintaining high streamflow advisories for a number of other rivers in the region including: tributaries of the North Thompson River around Clearwater and Barriere; and the North Okanagan including tributaries around Vernon, Lumby and Winfield.

River levels have remained elevated due to ongoing snowmelt and periods of precipitation.

A high-pressure system is expected to build through this week, with rising temperatures starting May 27 and extending for three to four days. The forecast centre advises that in areas with mid-elevation snowpack remaining, rivers levels may see additional rises through the rest of the week; this includes the Bonaparte River, Nicola River, Salmon River, tributaries in the North Thompson River and in the North Okanagan and Shuswap regions.

“Flows are generally expected to remain in the 2-year to 5-year range, except on the Bonaparte River and Salmon River, where current flows are near 20-year return periods and expected to see additional rises,” states an advisory from the forecast centre. “As the high-pressure ridge moves out of British Columbia over the weekend, rainfall is possible and may lead to more significant river rises over the weekend or early next week.”

Read more: Salmon River sees two days of increasing flow following rainy week

Read more: Salmon River flood watch causing less consternation than previous years

Read more: Salmon Arm offers sand, sandbags for residents who may need to protect property

Meanwhile, for those people living in low-lying areas near the Salmon River, the Shuswap Emergency Program (SEP) advises residents to protect their properties.

Sand and sandbags are being made available in the Shuswap, including at the Silver Creek Fire Hall, 1577 Salmon River Rd., and the Falkland Fire Hall, 2915 Gyp Rd.

Residents are reminded, with water levels rising, to be careful near fast-running water or flooded areas.

“Please remember to stay well back from creek banks and use common sense around high water. Children and pets need to be closely monitored around these areas, so keep them within arm’s reach at all times,” advises a SEP news release.

Although current information will be posted on SEP’s Facebook page, Facebook messages will not be monitored after regular business hours.

The best way to receive assistance from the Shuswap Emergency Program is by phone at 250-833-3351.

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