Water is expected to force the closure of Highway 3 in several spots when the Similkameen River rises again later this week. Photo: Penticton Western News files

Okanagan-Shuswap flood watch to intensify over next week

Heat wave speeding up snowmelt process

A unusually warm spring heat wave is raising flood warning concerns across the Okanagan and Shuswap regions over the next week, according to the B.C. River Forecast Centre.

Dave Campbell, head of the forecast centre, says the snow melting has been accelerated by temperatures trending six to eight degrees above the normal average, mixed with the potential for the heat to be briefly interrupted by rain later this week.

Related: Temperature soar to record-breaking heights in Kelowan, Vernon

“The weather will be critical over the few weeks,” Campbell explained. “There is a strong high pressure surge right now will a small potential disturbance that will generate rain leading into the long weekend, but that high pressure system is expected to rebuild and be more prolonged leading into next week.”

Campbell said in the South Okanagan, the rising Similkameen River is causing flooding headache, with a new peak level expected to be reached within the next three to five days.

He said flow projections of 800 cubic metres a second are anticipated for the peak freshet period, having already reached 600.

Related: Provincial aid for flood victims

“How high it goes will depend on a couple of pieces. One is how much snow at the higher elevation melts as from the snow perspective at some point that process will run out of gas, and what uncertainty the weather might bring through this week, as getting more rain will bump things up again,” he said.

Campbell said the Central and North Okanagan regions haven’t dodged a flood bullet yet, noting the mid-snow levels, 1,500 to 2,000 feet, are about two-thirds melted while the higher elevations above that are about 10 to 20 per cent melted.

“I think it would be premature to talk about dodging a bullet. Uncertainty over all rivers in the region right now makes them extremely vulnerable to flooding at this stage. The Mission Creek system and some around Vernon are very much in a transition period so we’ll find out more about the risk factor as that high elevation snow starts to melt at a higher rate,” he said.

Campbell added the Salmon River in the Shuswap, like the Similkameen, is another river that has already seen some peaks and valleys in its freshet enhanced flows.

“I think (the Salmon River) is one of those rivers where we have seen it peak, have seen it come down a bit, and now we are seeing it rise again. With a further warming trend the next four to seven days will be critical. If we get through that, then we should start to see improving conditions.”

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Don’t swim in Mission Creek, says regional district

The Kelowna creek is flowing faster and is much colder with the upper elevation snowmelt

Central Okanagan EDC boss to sit on provincial board

Corie Griffiths elected to Local Government Management Association of B.C. board

Tourism Kelowna adopts sustainability initiative

Responsible to environment key to long-term tourism growth

Surprise hot air balloon landings in Kelowna

Balloon with 6 passengers aboard lands on Blondeaux Crescent

Nitro Circus show hits Apple Bowl Friday

Kelowna’s Bruce Cook, who was rendered a paraplegic in 2014, will perform in his hometown

Stranded couple rescued from Mission Creek

Rescue personnel brought two people ashore from an island after their rafts were swept away.

Horgan defends fight to both retain and restrict Alberta oil imports

Alberta says pipeline bottlenecks are kneecapping the industry, costing millions of dollars a day

Vernon woman captures prestigious foresty honour

Tanya Wick from Tolko wins Women In Forest Award of Excellence

Police release video on how to ‘run, hide, fight’ if there’s an active shooter

Vancouver police offer video with input from E-Comm, BC EHS, Vancouver Fire and Rescue

RCMP caution boaters after two kids pass out from carbon monoxide poisoning

Both children were given oxygen and taken to hospital

B.C. invests $115M to create 200 new nurse practitioner jobs

Health Minister says 780,000 B.C. residents don’t have a family doctor

Supreme Court rules social housing residents in B.C. deserve rights too

Tenants trying to stabilize their living situations should not face less legal rights than those paying market rates: Judge

Union calls on prime minister to step into ‘stalled’ Phoenix compensation talks

For more than two years, thousands of federal workers have been affected by Phoenix system

Judge: President Trump can’t block critics on Twitter

The judge had suggested that Trump mute rather than block some of his critics

Most Read