The forecast center says the Northeast BC River could rise to flooding conditions

Photo: The Canadian Press

British Columbia Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Rob Fleming observes the progress of the repair and cleaning of floods and mudslides on the Coquihalla Highway northeast of Hope, BC, on Friday, December 10, 2021. Emergency officials say up to 20 buildings are flooded in three northwestern British Columbia communities, but a weather disruption has slowed the rise of waterways across the region and evacuation orders ‘will update.

The River Forecast Center warns residents of northeastern British Columbia that the Liard River could rise to extremely high flows, creating flooding conditions similar to last year.

The forecast center improved river conditions in a flood warning Tuesday for the area that includes tributaries around Fort Nelson and Highway 97 toward Watson Lake.

A flood warning is the most serious in a three-tier warning system used by the forecasting center and means flooding is expected.

Flood warnings remain in place around the Skeena and Bulkley rivers, while high-flow warnings cover the central and northwestern interior of the province.

The forecast center says flows into the Liard River could exceed 50-year return period levels later this week or early next week.

Thompson-Nicola Regional District in the southern interior of British Columbia also advised residents on Tuesday to prepare for the rising water after the cool weather delayed the melting of snow for many weeks.

Kevin Skrepnek, the district’s emergency program coordinator, says the snow cover is still “extremely high” in certain areas and this has increased the risk of flooding, especially on the North and South Thompson rivers.

He says smaller tributaries in the same area could also be affected by possible heavy rains and regions damaged by river floods or last year’s wildfires are especially vulnerable.

The district has deployed sand and sandbags at various locations in the area where flooding is forecast.

Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District has issued evacuation alerts for 18 properties along a stretch of the Tulameen River as the time-delayed spring snow continues.

In northwest BC, emergency officials say up to 20 buildings are flooded in three communities.

But a weather disruption has slowed the rise of waterways across the region.

The Kitimat-Stikine Regional District on Sunday ordered the evacuation of the Terrace area communities of Old Remo, New Remo and Usk.

He also declared a local state of emergency, as the Skeena River flooded the lowlands, cutting off access to villages.

About 300 people are affected and district officials say the river should recede enough to ensure a safe passage before residents can return.

The City of Terrace has said the risk of flooding is declining and the risk to the city and surrounding communities is now very low, although Environment Canada expects more rain until next week.

The forecast center maintains flood monitoring on the Dean River east of Bella Coola.

Rain could cause the Skeena and Bulkley rivers to inflate even further, but the model does not suggest significant increases, the forecast center says.

High-flow warnings cover many other streams and rivers in northwestern British Columbia and the central interior in the south to the U.S. border.

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