The Fraser River at Quesnel and Prince George has been upgraded to Flood Watch by the River Forecast Centre today (May 15) at 1 p.m.
A Flood Watch means that river levels are rising and will approach or may exceed bankfull. Flooding of areas adjacent to affected rivers may occur.
Nazko and West Road Rivers have been downgraded to a High Streamflow Advisory.
The Prince George area including the Chilako River, Salmon River and surrounding tributaries have also been issued a High Streamflow Advisory.
A High Streamflow Advisory means that river levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly, but that no major flooding is expected. Minor flooding in low-lying areas is possible.
A press release stated that the hot weather has led to rapid snow melt from mid to upper elevation snow packs.
Temperatures are expected to remain high through the week and into the weekend, and ongoing rises in river levels are expected in basins with sufficient snow remaining.
The Fraser River at South Fort George, a neighbourhood in Prince George, is currently at 8.8 metres and is expected to rise through the week. The River Forecast Centre believes it will reach between 9.2 and 9.4 metres by Friday.
The press release says most areas will see snow diminishing over the coming week. And with peak snowmelt runoff expected over the coming week, rivers will be vulnerable to rainfall events, particularly early next week, the release says.
Quesnel fire inspector/safety officer Ron Richert says the city is continuing to monitor the river regularly.
“The water line has actually decreased, but they are expecting it to start rising on Thursday,” he explains.
He says they are watching the loop on North Fraser Driver most closely, as the city’s Public Works department will redirect traffic if water goes over the road.
“If it gets to a certain level, we have to take action. It all depends on the weather over the weekend, and if it maintains that warmth,” says Richert.
Richert says he’s been advised that flooding is not expected for Baker Creek.
“They are not worried about it at all. [The River Forecast Centre says] the snow that affects the level of the Creek has all gone, so they don’t expect that to rise.”
Richert says no homes in the city of Quesnel are currently in danger of flooding.
More information is available at the River Forecast Centre website.