2017 was an unusually intense year in the Shuswap for landslides and flooding. A relatively wet fall in 2016, followed by a cold and dry winter with intense rain events in early 2017 set the stage for flooding and landslide events. The fall of 2017 was warm and dry, and this past winter has produced snow packs in the Shuswap much higher than normal according to the BC River Forecast Centre.
Ongoing snowfall and spring weather patterns will ultimately play a critical role in whether or not flooding occurs this year. Intense or prolonged rainfall combined with extreme temperatures are important factors that can lead to flooding.
As we transition into the spring season we should be mindful that flooding is a common and naturally occurring event in the Shuswap. Although it can happen at any time of the year, the most severe floods typically occur in the spring during freshet, when the spring thaw combined with rain raises stream and lake water levels.
Property owners near streams and lakes are reminded to start preparation to protect and reduce the risk of damage to their property in the event of flooding or high water. Property owners are responsible for all measures required for flood protection of private property. Develop a household plan, put together an emergency kit and connect with your neighbours. If you live in a flood-prone area, there are many ways you can reduce the risk of water damage.
Check out the PreparedBC website for valuable emergency preparedness information. This is a good time of year to plan ahead and BE PREPARED!
For further information on the Shuswap Emergency Program call 250.833.5950.