The ‘lake’ at DeMille’s Farm Market is back but owner Brad DeMille doesn’t expect flooding to be too severe in 2020. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon River flood watch causing less consternation than previous years

High stream flow advisory currently, high temperatures and heavy rains would create threat

Like a grizzly bear with cubs, the Salmon River tends to go pretty well anywhere it wants.

So far this year, it hasn’t made its domain the yards and homes of many of its neighbours.

Maria Otting lives in the 500 block of Salmon River Road, a location which has given her a kind of honorary degree in hydrology.

“We flooded in 2017 on May 6, and May 10 in 2018. The current flow is at around 40 cubic meters per second on our Salmon River. When we flooded in 2018, we were at 77 cubic meters per second,” she explained May 6.

She said her family is not sandbagging this year because they built up a road/berm behind their house after the flood in 2018. They think it will protect them as long as things don’t get worse than the ‘200-year return’ of 2018.

“After those serious floods, you become diligently involved in monitoring the conditions,” she said. “I just don’t feel like we are going to flood this year. With so much snow already having come slowly off the mountain, conditions and water levels being relatively normal thus far, and no major rain in the forecast during this critical time, I feel like we are going to be OK.”

She emphasizes she is grateful to live in a community where neighbours help each other.

Read more: This year’s flooding doesn’t rival 1948

Read more: 2018 – Peak levels for Salmon River forecast for next week

Up the valley, Shelley Work lives at Ravenwood Acres in the 2400 block of Salmon River Road. She’s seen the power of the river before and her property is again losing portions of its pasture.

Last year her family propped up their fence after digging out of three feet of sand and debris. That was on top of the sand and gravel deposits from 2018. They’ve also lost four to six feet of riverbank in some areas and an entire corner of trees.

On May 7 at the Salmon River Bridge on Highway 1, the water was still about a foot-and-half below the bridge. In 2018 at this time, it was licking at the deck.

Brad DeMille at DeMille’s Farm Market said “Meech Lake” has once again returned to his property.

However, he said the river isn’t too threatening this year.

“It’s kind of typical flooding. I don’t anticipate a huge problem. We’re going to see if it rises this weekend. I honestly don’t think it’s as big a deal as it has been in the past.”

He attributes the difference between this year and the last two or three years to the absence of hot temperatures.

“A 26 degree day is what you need to get those upper level snows to start moving, and stay warm at night. Now when you walk out in the morning, you’re like burr, it’s six degrees out here.”

Although about 25 millimetres of rain fell on May 6, close to an inch, things have been very dry since the end of January, DeMille said.

He points to how short dandelions are, which he says is a good indicator of how cold it’s been this spring. The soil temperature is still about 10C, five degrees cooler than what is needed for good vegetable growth.

“It’s smarter than the rest of us. It doesn’t stick its neck out when it’s cold. It grows very close to the ground.”

Read more: 2018 In photos – Back to flooding

Read more: Flooding doesn’t worry First Nations man

Tom Hansen, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s emergency program co-ordinator, points out that the BC River Forecast Centre has maintained a High Streamflow advisory for the Salmon River.

Hansen said high temperatures forecast for the May 9 weekend may cause more snow melt at higher elevations, increasing flows.

Overall, “I believe we will continue to see many of our steep creeks potentially causing some issues and will be watching the weather closely. Heavy rainfalls will have the biggest effect.”

The good news, he said, is that some of the residents who live along the creeks and in the lower areas adjacent to rivers and lakes have been contacting the CSRD and protecting their property with sandbags.

Rodger DeMille, who lives near Salmon West Elementary and has seen plenty of flooding over the years, remains on the fence, his pant legs dry so far.

“It might come and it might not,” he said, pointing out more flooding is possible if there were really warm days combined with a good thunderstorm and lots of rain. With the late spring, he expects residents will find out in about a week.

For him, where he lives, flooding is just part of life.

“Living by a river’s a nice thing. You’ve got water mostly when you need it, but you do pay for it, one way or the other.”


marthawickett@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

#Salmon Armflood watch

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

On May 7, 2020, the waters under the Salmon River Bridge on the Trans-Canada Highway at the west end of Salmon Arm are rising, but not as high as they did in 2018. (Lachlan Labere - Salmon Arm Observer)

This is the back field at Maria Otting’s residence in the 500 block of Salmon River Road in Silver Creek. Although the water table is high, the water is normal for this time of year and nothing like the flooding in 2018. (Contributed)

The fence on Shelley Work’s property in the 2400 block of Salmon River Road was propped up in 2019 after three feet of sand and debris was dug out. This year the river is back in full force. (Contributed)

Just Posted

Douglas fir trees in Salmon Arm face attack from bark beetle

Online pamphlet can help residents learn how to protect their trees

Okanagan film society screening for scholarships

North Okanagan students pursuing creative arts can apply for $2,000 bursaries

North Okanagan Minor Lacrosse cancels box season

COVID-19 wipes out indoor lacrosse; group hopeful outdoor field season will start in August

Vancouver Foundation grants benefit Okanagan-Shuswap residents

Grants of up to $500 available for ideas that connect people socially or involve sharing skills

UPDATED: Two sent to hospital by air ambulance following Enderby highway accident

Drivers involved in collision on Highway 97A in Enderby; serious, but not life-threatening injuries

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Power knocked out for 1,700 Lake Country residents

BC Hydro crews on scene to restore the outage

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

Editorial: Help local businesses help keep community safe

COVID-19 requirements impacting cost of doing business

Truck thief runs out of gas in North Okanagan

Pickup stolen from Coldstream, found not far away

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Morning Start: How sleepy is the koala bear?

Your morning start for Monday, May 25, 2020

Most Read