Communities and regions in British Columbia are coping with flooding as the snow continues to melt this spring, and forecasts of hot weather could make conditions worse.
Flood warnings and watches are already in place for much of the Southern Interior.
Cache Creek is coping with flood conditions. Portions of Highway 3 in the Kootenays have been closed because of flooding and a mudslide. Evacuation orders and alerts have been issued on part of the Okanagan Indian Band’s land.
Elsewhere, in the Similkameen Valley, a high streamflow warning has been issued for the Similkameen River and Ashnola River, but flood watches and flood warnings have not yet been issued.
Throughout the winter, snow levels were below normal in much of the province, but the sudden rise in temperatures has accelerated the melting conditions.
Not every community is facing flood conditions.
However, the incidents happening at present are cause for concern.
In addition, conditions can change quickly. It is possible that some areas now at a low risk for flooding could be facing different conditions in the near future.
Calls for flood preparation, issued by local governments, regional districts and the provincial government, deserve to be taken seriously.
The conditions facing some communities and regions this year are concerning, but they are not unique.
British Columbia has faced flooding in recent years. In 2017 and 2018, high water levels flooded lakeshore properties around Okanagan Lake. Lakefront parks and docks sustained damage from the flood waters. In late 2021, Princeton, Merritt, Abbotsford and other communities were devastated as an atmospheric river resulted in heavy rainfall and severe flooding. The damages from this flood can still be seen.
Any efforts taken now to prepare for flooding can help to mitigate potential damages this spring.
— Black Press