The BC River Forecast Centre is upgrading the advisory to a flood watch for the Kootenay region’s small watersheds including Redfish Creek and Duhamel Creek near Nelson.
As well, the Boundary’s West Kettle, Kettle, Granby Rivers and tributaries are under watch.
The centre is maintaining a high streamflow advisory for the Kootenay region’s medium-sized watersheds including the Slocan River, Moyie River, Salmo River, Elk River and Bull River.
Snowmelt has been rapid over the past week as a result of unseasonably high temperatures. Rivers across the South Interior have been flowing high in response to this snow melt.
In watersheds fed by snow at higher elevations (medium-sized watersheds through the Boundary and small watersheds in the Kootenay including Duhamel and Redfish Creeks), river levels remain high (between two-year and five-year flows).
The province is now under-going a change in weather patterns, with a break-down of the high pressure ridge that created hot temperatures last week, to a low pressure system which is forecast to bring moderate rainfall through the south-east.
With limited capacity in several rivers in south and southeast B.C., rivers are sensitive to additional water input from the rainfall from earlier this week.
This creates a potential for flood conditions to be reached, with the expected peak river levels to occur later this week. The amount that rivers rise will depend on rainfall amounts over the next few days.
If rainfall amounts are below what is forecasted, flooding may not occur. Flooding is possible under forecasted rainfall amounts, and flooding is likely to occur if rainfall exceeds the current forecast.
Current river levels are below levels of concern, but residents, recreationalists and visitors to these regions are urged to use extreme caution on or near all waterways. Flood waters can be fast-rising and fast-moving, carry large debris and make shorelines unstable.
People are asked to stay away from the water’s edge where increased flood risks have been identified and to provide special care for the safety of children and pets along rivers and creeks that can prove unpredictably dangerous.
River levels are expected to continue to increase this week, reaching the highest levels early this week. River levels could ease slightly into the week.
The River Forecast Centre will continue to monitor conditions and will provide updates as conditions warrant.
People should take the following precautions:
• Avoid small creeks and rivers as their channels tend to be narrow and can fill up quickly.
• Keep children and pets away from stream banks; eroded banks cause unstable ground.
• Watch for changing conditions, particularly in low-lying areas or near waterways.
• Check perimeter drains around your property and ensure they are clear of debris.