Risk of flooding in Kamloops and Okanagan grows as weather stays cool | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Risk of flooding in Kamloops and Okanagan grows as weather stays cool

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Kristina Bradshaw.

The upcoming long weekend may bring the warmest spring temperatures of the year but that shouldn’t cause immediate concerns of flooding, according to the province’s latest snow survey.

What happens in late May or early June, however, could drastically change that outlook.

Weekend temperatures in the Thompson and Okanagan regions are forecast to be in the low 20 Celsius range, which is not warm enough to trigger a major upper elevation snowmelt.

But it also means the snowpack may continue to accumulate.

“Flood risk continues to increase through much of the province primarily due to delayed snowmelt caused by persistent cooler spring temperatures,” the survey report says. “This delay has led to the highest provincial snowpack levels for May 15 since 2012. The greatest risk for potential major flooding is if a prolonged heat event occurs in late May or June.”

If that happens and is followed by heavy rains, that could lead to catastrophic flooding.

Kamloops is at some risk since the snowpack in the North Thompson is at 142% of normal, up from 128% on May 1.

While the Okanagan snowpack is the lowest in the province, it’s risen to 98% of normal compared to 83% on May 1.

“The longer-range forecast into next week (May 24-28) currently predicts a return to cooler and potentially unsettled conditions,” the report says. “There is no sign of an extended heat event in the upcoming weather forecast.”

That, of course could change.

“Spring weather is impossible to predict with accuracy in advance,” the report says.

Still, earlier this week, the B.C. River Forecast Centre issued a high streamflow advisory for the Whiteman and Salmon rivers in the Vernon, Falkland and Salmon Arm areas.

On the other hand, there has been minimal wildfire activity so far this year. Most of the Kamloops forest district shows a low fire risk although there are a couple of small pockets with moderate risk.

No active wildfires are listed.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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