Rivers rising across B.C.: Interior communities under Flood Warnings


The Puntledge River was full but calm Thursday afternoon, but that’s set to change once BC Hydro starts releasing three times the usual amount of water from the Comox Lake dam.

Aside from expert kayakers who will be riding the waves, other people should be extremely careful along the river banks.

READ MORE: Puntledge River surge creates ideal kayaking conditions, but paddle with caution: BC Hydro

“It only takes 15 to 30 centimetres of fast-flowing water to knock down an adult and areas by Barber’s Hole, Nymph Falls, the water flows will be high — and if you slip in you’re going to have a hard time getting out,” said BC Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson.

Recent warm temperatures and rain coming Friday will increase snow melt in the mountains.

“We’re seeing significant snow melt coming into Comox Lake Reservoir, so the reservoir is nearing full,th and it’s coming up pretty quickly,” added Watson.

But the situation is getting dangerous in many parts of the BC interior.

Flooding waters from the mountains were literally running down Highway 97 in Cache Creek Thursday, and vast areas of Southern B.C. are under flood warnings, flood watches, and high stream flow advisories.

B.C.’s Minister of Emergency Management Bowinn Ma said Thursday that melting snow and heavy rain this weekend could create dangerous conditions, particularly in the Northern and Southern Interior, Boundary and Southern Kootenay Region.

“This will put pressure on our watersheds. It is a dynamic situation that is quickly evolving but significant flooding in these regions is possible this weekend,” she said.

Anyone travelling to these areas should check conditions ahead of time.

As of 5:30 p.m., Thursday, there are no flood watches warnings or advisories on Vancouver Island.

The snowpack on the island is about 85 per cent of normal for this time of year, but unlike decades past, it will be gone a lot sooner this summer, according to BC Hydro.

“We like to have a slow snow melt where it goes well into summer but at the rate it’s going it’ll be done probably around mid-June,” said Watson. “Same for the Campbell River system but in retrospect, the snowpack 20 years ago would be depleted in August so this is the kind of changes we’re seeing in the systems.”

Watson says even though extra water needs to be released now due to high inflows into Comox Lake, it doesn’t mean water will be plentiful for the rest of the summer and fall.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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