No imminent flood risk in Kamloops area

BC River Forecast Centre hydrologist Jonathan Boyd: "For at least the next seven to 10 days, I don't think there's any foreseeable risk. It just takes time for that hot weather to kick in.”

Not much has changed in terms of Kamloops' flood risk in the past few weeks — the risks remain, and it all depends on the kind of weather Mother Nature delivers to us in the coming weeks.

"So far, it's really just been seasonal [snowpack] melts, which is a positive, especially if we keep that rate throughout the rest of the month and through June and July," BC River Forecast Centre hydrologist Jonathan Boyd told KTW.

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Boyd and other flood watchers have been keeping a close eye on the snowpack in the Kamloops region, especially in higher elevations that feed into the North Thompson and South Thompson rivers.

Current measures of the snowpack around the North Thompson are at 112 per cent of normal as of May 15, while the South Thompson snowpack was measured at 110 per cent of normal.

While snowpack levels like these are not uncommon for either river's regions — Boyd noted similarly high levels in 2012 and 2018 — it is less common for both to be high at the same time, and that might be what causes issues.

"The fear is that you'd have a sudden warm spell that lasts for several days," he said.

And that warm spell might happen. Environment Canada has indicated a possibility of a high pressure ridge forming over the province late next week and into next weekend.

"That's where our eyes are right now because that's the type of thing that could push flows to flood levels," Boyd said.

While heat is one variable, precipitation is another. If it falls as snow, as it has in recent days in some areas, it would add to the existing snowpack and not cause as much of a threat.

Boyd explained that at its fastest rate, snowpack will contribute measurements of approximately 40 to 50 millimetres per day, whereas rainfall could send a measured five to 15 millimetres per hour trickling down.

"If it's snow, it just adds to the potential of more water to come down. Snow is probably better, because it's not as rapid," he said, adding that if the Kamloops and area received heavy rainfall right now, it probably would not push the area into flood territory quite yet.

"For at least the next seven to 10 days, I don't think there's any foreseeable risk. It just takes time for that hot weather to kick in," he said.

Boyd said the South Thompson will not peak until its source, Shuswap Lake, does, and that typically occurs between mid-June and late July.

Flood watch remains for Cache Creek

Evacuation alerts have returned to Cache Creek over flooding concerns.

Approximately 175 residential and commercial properties along the Bonaparte River have been placed under evacuation alert by the Village of Cache Creek.

The alert applies to properties along the Bonaparte River in Cache Creek and properties east of Collins Road. The notice, issued by Cache Creek Mayor Santo Talarico, says residents should be prepared to evacuate if necessary.

© Kamloops This Week


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