Unstable weather patterns are making it more difficult for forecasters to predict when peak levels for lakes and rivers will be reached. While initial predictions indicated Shuswap Lake may peak this week or early next week, the BC Rivers Forecast Centre is now indicating the risk of flooding may persist, possibly into July.
The melting of high-level snowpacks continued to be delayed, which is also contributing to the potential for very high-water levels in Shuswap-area watersheds, as well as in the Thompson and Okanagan.
The Shuswap Emergency Program’s Emergency Operations Centre will remain activated over the weekend to manage the local flooding situation.
Flood Watch and Landslide Risk
Much of the Shuswap remains on Flood Watch status, including the Seymour River, Eagle River, Adams River, Shuswap River and surrounding tributaries. The level of the Salmon River is increasing but it has not been included in the Flood Watch at this time.
The unstable weather is continuing to pose a risk for debris flows, particularly in the Wiseman Creek area of the District of Sicamous. Due to these unsettled weather patterns, the Shuswap Emergency Program (SEP) will be leaving the Evacuation Alert in place for the 27 residences in the Sicamous Creek Mobile Home Park until further notice.
Concern over possible debris flows prompted the Shuswap Emergency Program to bring in geotechnical engineers to assess the upper levels of Hummingbird Creek, Sicamous Creek and Wiseman Creek. Engineers looked at Hummingbird Creek on Wednesday, and do not believe there is an immediate concern in that watershed. The geotechnical engineers continued to work on assessing the remaining creeks on Friday, June 17.
Crews from the BC Wildfire Service were brought in this week to assist with sandbagging efforts of critical infrastructure in the City of Salmon Arm around the water treatment plant in Canoe, as well as around pump and lift stations in the District of Sicamous. Initial flood preparation work has now been completed. BC Wildfire and local public works crews are on standby to assist again should conditions worsen.
Sand and sandbags will continue to be made available to private landowners looking to protect their property. Residents are reminded that to be most effective, sandbags should be placed on high ground, as close as possible to homes or buildings.
If residents notice supplies of sand or sandbags are getting low at any of the 22 locations in the Shuswap, we would ask residents to call 250-833-3352 so we can replenish supplies as quickly as possible.
The Shuswap Emergency Program has also updated and enhanced its Emergency Mapping Dashboard during the Flood Watch. It now includes include real-time tracking of area lakes and river levels, as well as sand and sandbagging locations. It also provides current evacuation alert and order information.
Residents are also advised to sign up for the Alertable, the CSRD’s emergency notification program, which will deliver alerts through an app on a smartphone, as well as through text, email, desktop computer and landline phone calls.
Photo: A crew from the BC WIldfire Service installs sandbags to protect critical water treatment infrastructure at Canoe Beach. These crews, as well as municipal public works teams, will now remain on standby should additional flood protections be needed in the Shuswap.