British Columbia floods: Interior continues to see risk, rains expected

Residents in parts of British Columbia’s interior are bracing for possible flooding as the River Forecast Center warns that heavy rains could cause river levels to rise to their highest this season .

A flood watch remains in effect Sunday for the North Thompson River, including tributaries around Barriere and Clearwater. The South Thompson River, where a flow advisory was previously issued, has also been upgraded to a flood watch. Vigils are also in effect in the Shuswap area and the Cariboo Mountains.

“A flood alert means the river level is rising and will approach or could exceed full. Flooding of areas adjacent to affected rivers may occur,” the center’s website explains.

Between Kamloops and Spences Bridge, a high flow advisory has been issued. The same goes for the Nicola River.

“Rivers in the region are flowing very high for this time of year and are extremely vulnerable to a heavy rainfall event. A major concern ahead is the weather forecast of a possible long duration rainfall event in the waters of ‘upstream of South Thompson, North Thompson and Cariboo Mountains late Tuesday through Wednesday,’ a statement from the BC River Forecast Center said.

“Uncertainty remains high for rainfall totals and spatial extent. If widespread heavy rains occur, rivers will reach the highest level of the season and significant flooding is possible.”

No alerts or evacuation orders are in place in any of the affected areas.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional Districtta warned residents earlier this month that they should start preparing for flooding during the spring freshet and sandbags have been sent to communities that may be affected. The cooler-than-normal spring delayed snowmelt, resulting in higher-than-normal river flows, which is concerning when combined with the possibility of “potential heavy rainfall,” the district said.

In the Columbia-Shuswap Regional Districtthe emergency operations center was activated on Sunday due to flooding concerns as lake and river levels rose.

Betty K. Park