‘High stream flow’ advisory issued for Greater Trail area

Melting mountain snowpacks in the West Kootenay are causing swelling rivers and creeks.

Warm weather might bring warm smiles at this time of the year, but it is also bringing melt water.

Potentially dangerous conditions are developing as a transition in mountain snow packs takes place in the upper reaches of the West Kootenay mountain ranges, accelerating the spring melting and swelling creeks and rivers.

With temperatures climbing towards the 30-degree Celsius mark each day since Thursday, and near 20 degrees for the remainder of the week, the heat is on in the backcountry, putting snow on the endangered species list.

“River levels are expected to rise in response to rapid snowmelt over this period,” read the report released Friday.

As a result, the B.C. River Forecast Centre has issued a high stream flow advisory for the West Kootenay, including the Columbia, Kootenay and Pend d’Oreille rivers and their tributaries.

River levels are expected to peak today, according to the Centre’s latest release, meaning people need to be careful when hiking around streams and rivers this week.

The high stream flow advisory also applies to the Similkameen, Okanagan and Boundary regions, as well as South Thompson tributaries. A high stream flow advisory means that river levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly, but that no major flooding is expected. Minor flooding in low-lying areas is possible. A flood alert remains in effect near Osoyoos, in Oliver and Tulameen, near Princeton.

A strong high pressure ridge has developed across southern British Columbia and will remain until mid week, meaning temperatures will stay warm.

The rising trend is expected to persist through the weekend and into next week, with peak river levels on small to medium-sized rivers expected to be reached on Monday or Tuesday.

The province is providing flood watch information on its DriveBC website so that people can check the status of the roadways before they head out this spring.

With temperatures nearing 30 degrees Celsius the humidity is also dropping in the region, increasing the potential for wildfires.

A wet, dry spring has given way to hot, dry temperatures, with high-risk fire zones centred in the Kamloops and Prince George areas.

No advisories have been released from the Southeast Fire Centre, which includes the Greater Trail region and Castlegar, restricting or limiting fires.