Widespread flooding not imminent

Barring sudden and severe weather events, this year’s freshet is expected to conclude without consequence.

Mara Lake has risen enough to reach the backyards of some Swansea Point residences. While sandbags are available

Mara Lake has risen enough to reach the backyards of some Swansea Point residences. While sandbags are available

Barring sudden and severe weather events, this year’s freshet is expected to conclude without consequence.

While streamflow advisories remained in effect on the South Thompson yesterday, officials at the BC River Forecast Centre say  the river has now crested.

Shuswap Lake is below flood levels and is expected to peak sometime this week – without incident.

Cooler weather and dwindling snowpacks led to a general decline in several B.C. river levels over the past week.

City of Salmon Arm Roads and Parks manager, John Rosenberg says the water level in the Salmon River dropped 15 inches over the weekend.

“If nothing crazy happens over the next few days, I think we’re out of the woods now,” he said, noting that while he did check out Syme’s Bridge Monday, the city is no longer monitoring river levels on a daily basis. “We did raise the gangplank down to Twin Anchors just in case but it appears it shouldn’t be an issue.”

Shuswap Emergency Program (SEP) co-ordinator Cliff Doherty agrees hot weather forecast for mid-week could put a blip in the River Forecast Centre’s prognostication.

Not that Doherty is expecting widespread flooding.

A water level reading taken at 5 a.m. Monday was 348.483 metres, very close to the 348.7 crest in 2008 – a year that, in terms of flooding, was considered to be a non-issue.

By 7 a.m. Monday, the level had dropped to 348.479; imperceptible perhaps, but indicative of a trend, Doherty says.

He notes the first part of June was marked by a rapid increase in Shuswap Lake levels – about 5 centimetres per day. That rate has now slowed to about .5 to 1 cm per day.

“I have heard that some snowpacks in some areas have been exhausted,” he says.

David Campbell, head of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations River Forecast Centre confirms this and says the Celista snow pillow is melting at about 30 mm per day and is at about 30 per cent of peak level for the year.

The Park Mountain snow pillow that feeds Shuswap River is melting at a rate of about 15 mm per day and is still 60 per cent of the annual peak level.

“The Eagle River is probably very similar to what we see at Celista and Park Mountain,” says Campbell, noting the river is well below annual peak flow. “It’s probably somewhere around 50 per cent of peak snowpack.”

While some properties in the Swansea Point area have sandbags, Doherty said property owners had installed them on their own.

He says a load of sand was dropped in the community early in June when the Salmon River was causing concern and fears that nearby Hummingbird Creek and Shuswap River might escape their banks.

“Some properties are too low and so property owners have to take measures to protect their own properties,” he says, Pointing out preparedness is the responsibility of individual property owners until widespread and significant flooding require local authorities to respond. “Currently the situation is not warranting supply and distribution of sand to individual residences at taxpayer expense, as significant or widespread flooding does not appear to be imminent or occurring.”

Anyone wishing to acquire sandbags to protect their property can visit www.sepadvisory.com.