A resident captured this photo Duhamel Creek near Six Mile last week. Photo: Dennis Paradine

A resident captured this photo Duhamel Creek near Six Mile last week. Photo: Dennis Paradine

West Kootenay flood risk continues as snow pack sits at 215% of normal

Snowmelt delay stretching freshet into July

The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) says freshet season will last through late July due to the significant amount of mountain snow pack still remaining in the region.

Currently snow pack in the West Kootenay region is at 215 per cent of normal. Across the province the average snow pack is 198 per cent of normal.

Typically by this time of year, three quarters of the accumulated snow pack has melted; however, due to the abnormally cooler temperatures throughout April and May that melt has been delayed.

The RDCK says this indicates a continued enhanced risk from snowmelt-related flooding, especially in combination with heavy rain.

The RDCK remains under a high streamflow advisory. The BC River Forecast Centre downgraded the advisory from a flood watch advisory last week. Most rivers, streams and creeks have risen to normal or above-normal levels and are extremely vulnerable to heavy rainfall events. Residents are reminded to exercise extreme caution around rivers and creeks.

As of June 17, Kootenay Lake was at 1751.45 ft. (533.84 metres) at Queen’s Bay. FortisBC has advised all residents that the lake level still has the potential to exceed 1752 feet. Go to fortisbc.com/lakelevel to access the hourly-updated Kootenay Lake level report.

Environment Canada forecasts unsettled weather conditions throughout the RDCK over the next week with no sign of an extended heat event. However, a significant change in the forecast or thunderstorms along with heavy rainfall could result in localized floods.

There are currently no evacuation alerts or orders in the RDCK. On Tuesday, June 14 the RDCK removed the evacuation alert for the community of Six Mile near Nelson, as the risk of damage to the Duhamel Creek Orphan Dike structure has diminished.

Information about evacuation alerts and orders in the RDCK can be found on the RDCK’s website, Facebook and Twitter.

For details about evacuation and emergency preparedness, along with other resources, visit rdck.ca/eocinfo. The RDCK EOC public inquiry line is 250-352-7701.

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