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Streamflow advisory issued: Minor flooding possible as Interior temperatures climb

Water is flowing quickly in Mission Creek.
April 20, 2016 - 11:36 AM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - A high streamflow advisory has be issued for several tributary river systems in Vernon, Kelowna, Kamloops and Penticton.

The advisory was issued Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. by the B.C. River Forecast Centre and includes Mission Creek, Similkameen River, the Kettle and West Kettle Rivers, Salmon River and other tributaries to the South Thompson River, the Nicola River upstream of Nicola Lake and rivers around Merritt.

The increase in river flow is due to melting snow at higher elevations caused by warmer than average weather.

“Streams have been responding to this rapid snowmelt, with many smaller streams in the South Interior seeing a 50% to 100% increase in flow over the past 3 days,” the Forecast Centre website says. “Flows in many smaller rivers are near or above record levels for this time of year, and are approaching or at two-year return period flows.”

With temperatures across the province being an average of 10 degrees warmer than normal throughout the week, the snow melt rates are expected to remain high until Friday.

While no major flooding is expected, minor floods could appear in low-lying areas and the public is cautioned to stay clear of rivers due to quickly flowing water and potentially unstable riverbanks.

Powers Creek in West Kelowna has already breached its banks, leading the city to close Rotary Trails Park due to safety concerns.

The River Forecast Centre will continue to monitor conditions across the region and will provide updates as conditions warrant.

Previous warnings were issued for several waterways in the Central and South Okanagan.

— This story was updated at 11:58 a.m., April 20, 2016, to note the park closure in West Kelowna.

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