Flood alert: Be prepared

The widespread flooding last spring that hit the South Cariboo might be seeing an encore this year.

The widespread flooding last spring that hit the South Cariboo might be seeing an encore this year.

While it may seem hard to believe due to the extreme cold the region endured just two weeks ago, it’s already happening in Centennial Park. Bridge Creek hasn’t truly frozen over at any point this winter and has in fact broken its banks on the walking trails that lead to the falls.

Anyone brave enough to walk out there will find themselves walking on sheets of ice or, if they’re unlucky, plunging into frigid knee-deep pockets of water. This is without any abnormally high melting of snow and ice. Readers will recall that last year half of Centennial Park remained flooded until mid-summer.

With the amount of snow and ice we’ve gotten this winter, it’s not crazy to assume we might be in trouble this year.

Thankfully, our local government officials seem keenly aware of this fact. The Cariboo Regional District is working towards setting up a joint meeting between the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and local MLAs to discuss the upcoming freshet and the consequences from the region. The cost of the floods last year, which turned some homes into tiny islands surrounded by sandbags and washed out many roads, cost the region millions in damages.

The general consensus of the mayors, MLAs and CRD directors is that both the local and provincial governments need to be proactive this year to mitigate potential damages. While time will tell what their precautions will look like, it’s good to know they’re taking this threat seriously.

But what can regular South Cariboo citizens do to prepare this year?

We can certainly use our knowledge of our surroundings to our advantage. If you live near a creek, river or lake it might be a good idea to start keeping tabs on the water levels.

While snow from up in the hills melting all at once will lead to flash floods, knowing if the water table is unusually high for your area could give you advance warning. Even reporting such levels to the CRD or the Ministry of Transportation could help them act proactively rather than reactively.

Stocking up on supplies as we move towards spring is also a good idea. As we saw with COVID-19, panic buying can clean out shelves and it continues to slow supply chains for everything. Extra food, sandbags and pumps for your basements might not be needed now – or hopefully at all – but having them and not needing them will be a lot better than needing them and not having them.

Perhaps the most important thing we can do, however, is to be ready to come together and help out where we can as needed. It’s an instinct common throughout the region and so long as we have that, come hell or high water, we should be fine.

Of course, a slow melt wouldn’t hurt either.


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