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Good news on the flood forecast in Kamloops

Heavy rain anticipated in recent days did not materialize, which is why there is currently significantly less concern

The forecast has changed in recent days and there is “significantly less concern” about flooding in Kamloops.

On Friday morning (June 24), the city provided another update on freshet. Since the last update, which occurred on June 21, water from the South Thompson River has spilled over the banks and into the Sandman Centre parking lot downtown.

City utility services manager Greg Wightman said the water level is about a metre short of the 1999 mark on the flood monument, which was surrounded by water on Friday.

He said heavy rain anticipated in recent days, which led to concern about possible historic-level flood events, did not materialize, which is why there is currently significantly less concern. Still, Wightman said he is not “relieved” yet.

“We certainly avoided a drastic-looking event here and we’ve got a much more favourable forecast as we head into the weekend,” he said. “Next weekend is still a concern, though.”

The city is expecting the North and South Thompson rivers to peak at the same time on Saturday. Water levels are expected to stay high — and remain that way for at least a week — leaving the rivers vulnerable to any significant rain that may come, which is why Wightman cannot yet take that sigh of relief. Weather forecasts so far are calling for heat. That forecast is encouraging, Wightman said, because it is expected to melt significant snow left in higher elevations at a gradual rate. Snow still to melt is the reason why water levels are not expected to drop for some time.

The city is now concerned about residents who may be eager to get on the water to go boating or do other recreational activities during the first blast of summer weather.

“Just stay away from the water,” Wightman said. “It’s extremely high, very fast right now. It’s not safe to be around the rivers.”

The city shuttered public boat launches a couple of weeks ago and expects them to stay closed through the Canada Day long weekend. It is also reminding residents that Kamloops Fire Rescue cannot perform water rescues at this time as rescue boat cannot get up and down the river easily because water is as high as bridges in some areas.

New infrastructure working:

As of Friday, water had risen to new diking installed this year in Riverside Park. Wightman said that, if the infrastructure had not been in place, a temporary barrier seen in previous years would have been built once again in the park. Wightman said it would have cost $300,000 to $400,000, plus restoration and removal costs.

“That certainly gives us some comfort knowing we didn’t have to do anything here in Riverside Park or McArthur Island this year,” Wightman said.