Adrienne Bootsma and son Jaron watch as Canoe Creek begins to recede in May 2017. (File photo)

Adrienne Bootsma and son Jaron watch as Canoe Creek begins to recede in May 2017. (File photo)

Shuswap property owners urged to be proactive on flooding

Higher-than-normal snowpack not necessarily an indicator of flood risk

The higher-than-normal snow pack in the region isn’t necessarily a harbinger of flooding to come.

According to the March 1 BC River Forecast Centre report, the snow pack level in the South Thompson, which includes the Shuswap, is sitting at 127 per cent of normal. Meanwhile, snow pack levels in surrounding areas sit anywhere from 115 to 127 per cent above normal.

The report notes typically 80 per cent of annual snow accumulation occurs by March 1st. However, the report also stresses snow pack alone does not predict whether flooding will occur. Spring weather is also a critical factor.

This point is reiterated by Shuswap Emergency Program co-ordinator Tom Hansen who says it’s still very early in the season to determine flood risk.

“Worst case scenario is if you get snow at higher elevations continuing until the spring, and then you get a quick, sudden change to hot dry temperatures, and then rain on top… and it all melts in a real hurry,” said Hansen, adding the more likely scenario is that snow will continue to melt slowly as the weather heats up.

“Having said that, you can see stuff melting, stuff running here and there a little bit, so don’t wait,” cautioned Hansen. “We want people to start thinking ahead, especially those who have experienced flooding in the past.”

Hansen advised those who have experienced flooding take precautions, from clearing basements of valuables and checking sump pumps, to building up berms and/or placing sandbags to protect from nearby creeks or other water sources. Cleaning gutters and downspouts is also recommended.

Read more: Okanagan snowpack: February relatively normal

Read more: Snow pack in Shuswap mountains reaches 130 per cent of normal

Read more: Recent snowfall in the Shuswap far from record-breaking

Should flooding risk increase, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, its Shuswap Emergency Program (SEP) and Emergency Management B.C. can put plans into place for mitigation, including placement of sandbags for public use. Hansen said the City of Salmon Arm and the District of Sicamous have a stockpile for those communities.

Regarding potential for landslides come freshet, Hansen said SEP works with different levels of government to monitor the region, including known problem areas.

“We know what’s happened in the past and various drainages that are problems, so we certainly pay attention to those and work with our partners…,” said Hansen, noting the CSRD has collected and continues to collect data on areas where past incidents have occurred such as Bastion Mountain and around Hummingbird Creek in Mara.

“Those are definitely on our radar,” he said.

While much information has been gathered over the years that can be used to protect public infrastructure, Hansen stresses it is up to residents to mitigate risk to private property.

“We don’t have the authority to go in or change people’s private land, so if they live along the lake and the private property has a history of flooding, the onus is on them to do something about it…,” said Hansen.

The CSRD offers variety of emergency management tips and resources on its website at csrd.bc.ca.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Taking part in the Business Recovery and Expansion Program offered by the Tsuts’weye Women’s Entrepreneur and Innovation Network has been a re-energizing experience for Wildwood Flower Emporium owner Ellen Gonella of Salmon Arm. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Making connections: Salmon Arm business owner re-energized by free local program

Applications being accepted for Business Recovery and Expansion Program

The Okanagan’s first virtual wedding fair will be held Saturday, March 27. {Paul Rodgers photo)
Okanagan to host virtual wedding fair

Okanagan wine country is No. 1 destination for weddings - online event set for March 27

Vernon Search and Rescue, with help from the Air Rescue One helicopter out of Wildcat Helicopters in Kelowna, and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue, were able to transport an injured snowmobiler to Vernon Regional Airport, where he was loaded into an ambulance and taken to Vernon Jubilee Hospital with a serious, painful back injury. (Facebook photo)
Okanagan helicopter rescue teams called to retrieve injured sledder at Greystokes

Vernon and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue help load injured man into waiting helicopter

Chase RCMP held two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight in their detachment’s cells on Feb. 6. (File Photo)
Chase RCMP hold two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight

The two separate incidents took place less than an hour apart.

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 vaccination set to start for B.C. seniors aged 80-plus

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

KISU swim club member Justin Fotherby is one of six swimmers from across Canada to be recognized for the 2020-2021 Victor Davis Award. (Submitted photo)
Penticton swimmer wins major awards, closing in on Olympic dream

Justin Fotherby, a KISU club member, has just won the prestigious Victor Davis Award

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Oliver Fire Department. (Submitted photo)
Burn pile fire spreads to nearby garage in Oliver

The fire could be seen from Highway 97 and was called in at 3:45 a.m.

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Last year, more than 80 parents braved sub-zero temperatures to stand in line at Vernon’s Beairsto Elementary to ensure a Kindergarten spot for their children come September. Now, this first-come, first-served system is about to change. (Morning Star file photo)
COVID exposure at Vernon elementary school

Interior Health reporting exposure Feb. 19 and 22 at Beairsto

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

(Pxhere)
Compensation fund opens for B.C. students negatively affected by incorrect exam marks

Marks for 2019 provincial exams were incorrectly tabulated

Most Read