Flood threat ends as river levels begin to recede

The flood threat through Kamloops has subsided and the beaches will soon re-appear.

“Broadly speaking, we’re experiencing the peak flows now for the Thompson [watershed] at Kamloops and expect that to drop off in the coming few days here,” head of the B.C. River Forecast Centre David Campbell told reporters in the last scheduled flood update teleconference of the season.

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The South Thompson River — which had a snow pack measured at 126 per cent of normal at its peak — is expected to peak this week as inflows into Shuswap Lake have begun to decline.

Campbell said an estimated 40 to 60 per cent of the snow pack for the South Thompson has now melted.

The North Thompson River reached peak flows last week.

River Levels
This graph from the City of Kamloops shows river level records for 2018 compared to previous record flood years. - City of Kamloops

A high streamflow advisory remains in place for the South Thompson River and Shuswap Lake, while high streamflow advisories for the North Thompson River and the Thompson River at Spences Bridge have ended. Advisories for tributaries in the Kamloops and Cache Creek areas have also ended.

Campbell said there would need to be significant rainfall to pose a flood risk.

There is a 40 per cent chance of rain in the forecast for Wednesday in Kamloops, but no other rain expected for the rest of the week, according to Environment Canada.

Dwindling snow packs and stabilization in rivers has occurred throughout the province, Campbell said.

“We’re seeing now in the order of 40 per cent to 100 per cent of the snow pack that we started the season with has now melted. And in many of the sites, even where we had those extremely high snowpacks earlier in the year, we’ve transitioned to well below normal for this time of year — pretty much across the province,” Campbell said.

He said the flood season is ahead of schedule due to unseasonably high temperatures throughout the month of May that caused rapid snow melt.

The mercury was about five to 10 degrees above average in Kamloops throughout the May heat wave, reaching into the 30-degree mark. Temperatures have cooled down this week and are more in line with the average highs in the 21-degree mark, according to Environment Canada statistics.

River levels remain high through Kamloops, but measurements taken at the Overlanders Bridge show they are dropping.

The City of Kamloops’ measurements at the nexus of the Thompson twins sat at about 343.4 metres above sea level as of Tuesday.

Levels at that site rose nearly four metres since the start of May, levelling off at about 343.5m during the Victoria Day long weekend, increasing again slightly the week after before falling off.

© Kamloops This Week


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