B.C.'s North Thompson River on flood watch, Fraser River advisory continues

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VICTORIA — The B.C. River Forecast Centre has upgraded its ranking to a flood watch for the North Thompson River, including tributaries around Barriere and Clearwater.

It says it is also maintaining flood watches for the Cariboo Mountains and tributaries flowing westward.

A flood watch follows an advisory and indicates river levels may exceed the bank and flooding could occur.

The centre says rainfall and snowmelt across the region has led to "on-going rises in rivers draining from the Cariboo Mountains over the past week."

It says it is also maintaining a high streamflow advisory for the Fraser River from Quesnel downstream, including Big Bar, Boston Bar, and the Fraser Valley from Hope to the ocean.

Other high streamflow advisories were also issued for the Kootenay East and West regions, including Elk River near Fernie, Bull River near Gardner and Kootenay River at Fort Steele, as well as tributaries in the Kootenay West region around Nelson.

The advisory means that river levels are rising or expected to rise, and while no major flooding is expected, minor flooding is possible.

The centre says snowmelt and rain throughout the weekend is expected to keep river levels high. It says increased rainfall is forecast starting Monday and continuing into Tuesday with the potential to cause flooding.

The flood warning for the Liard River in the northeastern area of the province, initially issued Tuesday, was also continued. This includes tributaries around Fort Nelson and Highway 97 toward Watson Lake.

A flood warning is the most serious in a three-tiered alert system used by the forecast centre and means flooding is expected.

The centre says it is also maintaining a high streamflow advisory for Swift River and other streams and rivers in the most northwestern section of the province.

It says flows are expected to remain elevated through the weekend, but there is risk that rain early next week may cause water levels to rise further.

The centre is advising the public to stay clear of fast-moving rivers and potentially unstable riverbanks during the high-streamflow period.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 11, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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