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Lake to stay below 2012 level

Forty millimetres is not a lot, but it could signal the beginning of the end for this year’s freshet.

On June 5, the BC. River Forecast Centre predicted that Shuswap Lake would peak over the weekend at around 348.6 metres, similar to levels reached in 2011 and 2013 – a full metre below the lake level reached in 2012.

Concerns from some quarters that a return of El Nino combined with heavy rainfall could result in flooding, prompted Shuswap Emergency Program (SEP) officials to advise that, according to experts, 2012 levels will not be reached.

“There is no forecast for heavy rainfall for the province, except perhaps for isolated thunderstorms similar to what has been experienced over the past few days in the Shuswap region,” stated a June 5 SEP public advisory.

The BC Forecast Centre confirmed last week that smaller tributaries in the Shuswap have peaked. However, if a thunderstorm were to stall over a creek and dump excessive precipitation, the watercourse could rise temporarily.

Such smaller rainfalls are not expected to have any impact on the level of the lake.

Emergency Centre Operations information officer Cathy Semchuk says the lake level was down 40 mm from its 348.584-mm high last Friday.

“It’s hard to say if that’s the peak for freshet because if we get heavy rain or higher temperatures that will melt the snowpack quickly, the lake will again go up,” says Semchuk. “But it’s anticipated it will peak soon.”

 

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