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Increased flood risk on Nicola Lake

Flooding kept the public works department busy in 2012 - it is not expected the river will get as high this year but is dependent on the weather.
May 24, 2013 - 12:29 PM

Lowered risk for area rivers

Merritt received over 30 millimetres of rain between Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening and that rain has helped propel Nicola Lake to near-flooding levels, even though officials say rivers around the Interior have already peaked and are starting to recede.

The Nicola Lake could flood properties around the lake as the creeks and rivers feeding the lake remain high over the next couple of weeks. Aside from shoreline flooding residents are warned the banks may be unstable and prone to sudden collapse.

A dam is used to regulate the flow into the lake and outflow rates will be increased this week and possibly over the next 10 days.

Less than 24 hours after the province warned the lake was reaching flooding levels the B.C. River Forecast Centre said a high streamflow advisory for several rivers, including the Shuswap, Eagle and Salmon Rivers, had ended. Most rivers reached their peak on Thursday, May 23, and with no significant rainfall in the forecast river levels are expected to drop over the weekend.

By 11 a.m. a high streamflow advisory was reissued for the Nicola River downstream of the lake because of the high level on Nicola Lake.

In Kamloops the Thompson River should peak, again, within a couple of days and then start to go down, emergency coordinator Dan Sutherland says.

“The rain we got was significant, but having said that the river had gone down enough (last week) to be able to take on this extra water.”

Sutherland says he is comfortable with the level of the river, which could get as high as it was last week before coming down again over the weekend. The middle snowpack is almost all gone but because the upper snowpack is still in place the risk of flood remains and is something the city and the province will be keeping an eye on.

The high river levels will be keeping the Valleyview boat launch closed until further notice and the record amount of rain this week has closed sports fields at McArthur Park and Hillside Stadium until Monday. The only trail closure Sutherland is aware of is the Rivers Trail under the rail bridge behind the Interior Savings Centre.

Heading into this week Kamloops had only seen 4.4 mm of the monthly normal of 24.4 mm of rain. May 21 and 22 a total of 28.2 mm fell at the airport, setting daily rainfall records along the way. As of Friday morning 33 mm has now fallen in Kamloops for the month of May, with possible rain forecast for Saturday and Monday through Thursday. The extreme daily rainfall record for the city is 20.6 mm, which fell on May 17, 1996.

To contact a reporter for this story, email jstahn@infotelnews.ca or call(250) 819-3723.

The Thompson River remains high heading in to the weekend but should start to recede by early next week.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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