(Black Press Media files)

(Black Press Media files)

Higher-than-normal snowpacks mean parts of B.C. at risk of flooding

Two days of intense rain in May that year caused the worst flooding seen in 70 years

Residents in several British Columbia communities are being warned to prepare the sandbags and to remember social distancing measures if they’re helping their neighbours protect property from potential flooding.

Jonathan Boyd, a hydrologist with the B.C. River Forecast Centre, said Friday Prince George and the surrounding region are most at risk of flooding from upstream snowpacks that are near record levels.

One snow station that goes back 61 years was at its highest level ever when the latest measurements were taken on April 1, he said.

“The worst-case scenario, and it’s pretty well for any part of the province that’s susceptible to snow-melt flooding, is that if we have a cold April or even early May, so that’s a lack of snowmelt, and then we switch to extraordinary heat so in Prince George that would be 25 degrees over five to 10 days,” he said.

“That would result in a rapid melt of the snow all at once. And then an extra worse-case scenario would be having the rain fall on top of that.”

Quesnel and Grand Forks are among the communities that could be most impacted due to rapid snowmelt in Prince George.

Catastrophic flooding in parts of southern B.C. in the spring of 2018 forced nearly 2,800 people to flee, with Grand Forks hit particularly hard as homes were submerged in murky, brown water.

Two days of intense rain in May that year caused the worst flooding seen in 70 years.

READ MORE: Largest April snowpack in decades poses high flood risk to Fraser Valley

Kamloops is also at high risk of flooding because of the highest water levels since 1999 in the north and south parts of the Thompson River combined, Boyd said.

The regions of Kamloops, Prince George and Quesnel make up about 65 per cent of the water that eventually comes down through the lower Fraser Valley and any flooding above could affect Delta and Richmond, he said.

“The absolute worst-case scenario would have to occur but the snowpack is very high for the Fraser River,” he said of the largest river in the province.

The snowpack on April 1, 2018 was 127 per cent of normal and this year it’s 112 per cent, Boyd said.

“However, the areas of key concern this year are a lot higher than that year.”

Chris Keam, spokesman for the Cariboo Regional District, said water levels are rising in some areas and any widespread evacuations would cause challenges in housing people due to physical distancing measures during the pandemic.

“It’s getting warm up here and it’s raining today,” Keam said, adding free sandbags and sand are available at four fire halls in the region.

“We’re hoping that people can be prepared and ready to protect their property and have a plan if they need to leave,” he said.

The City of Kamloops is providing sand at two sites but residents are required to bring their own shovels and stay at least two metres apart while filling sandbags.

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A peacock struts by a pair of lamb siblings at the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm, which remains closed to the public. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
VIDEO: Victoria petting zoo optimistic about future after 13 months closed

Public helps non-profit Beacon Hill Children’s Farm with nearly $100,000 influx

Island Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak in two houses at the Mount St. Mary long-term care home on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)
Island Health declares outbreak at Victoria long-term care home

Resident, staff member test positive for COVID-19 at Mount St. Mary facility

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus is putting a 41-passenger electric bus through its paces in a three-month trial run between Nanaimo and Victoria. (Photo submitted)
Electric bus on trial run serving Victoria-to-Nanaimo route

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus trying out 41-seat electric coach for three months

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is helping Saanich police locate a suspect who allegedly stole an iPhone from a building in the 3100-block of Foul Bay Road on April 7. (Image via the Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Saanich police seek suspect in cell phone theft

White iPhone XR reported stolen from building on Foul Bay Road April 7

Victoria police are looking for a 38-year-old man after he allegedly assaulted and choked a missing 15-year-old victim in Beacon Hill Park Tuesday night. (Black Press Media file photo)
15-year-old choked in Beacon Hill tent, Victoria police assaulted while intervening

Police searching for 38-year-old suspect, two officers injured in altercation with park residents

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Do you have a spare 50 grand or so kicking around (have… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
An Island girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

Most Read