News

Comox Valley snowpack high, flood risk not

Despite a high snowpack remaining on Mount Washington, the Comox Valley is in a good position for a low flood risk this spring, said BC Hydro's Stephen Watson.
Watson explained the highest flood risk for the area occurs more in the fall and winter months, and not as much in the spring.
"Our flood risk is mostly from mid-October through February," he explained. "Unlike the Lower Mainland and the Interior, our (weather) systems are quite short and the Comox Lake Reservoir can absorb the flow. I don't see any concern for flood risk."
Flooding generally occurs when high snowpacks combine with higher temperatures and/or heavy rainfall.
Last week, an evacuation alert was issued for the community of Tulameen by the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen due to rising groundwater caused by this year's spring thaw, and a week prior, a similar alert was issued by the City of Kimberley.
According to BC Hydro, as of mid-April, the B.C. River Forecast Centre reported record or near record snowpack levels in the Upper Fraser, Nechako, Columbia, Kootenay, Peace and Skeena-Nass basins had created an exceptional flood risk in those regions.
There is also an elevated flood risk along the entire length of the main stem of the Fraser River from the Robson Valley to the Fraser Valley.
Watson said just like last year, he would like to see a gradual increase of warmer weather.
"Ideally, we'd like to see the snowpack melt over a period of time. Last year in July and August we still had high flows," he noted. "It looks like it might be similar this year; the snowmelt might be delayed."
He added despite the lower risk of flooding, there is some potential impact for other water users — such as tubers — because the flow might be increased.
photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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