Increased rain could lead to higher risk of flooding in parts of BC

BC officials are warning that an increase in rain could exacerbate the risk of flooding in some parts of the province.

A special weather statement from Environment Canada says the Okanagan Valley, Elk Valley and parts of the Kootenays could see “prolonged rainfall” at the start of the week.

Elk Valley, including areas near Fernie, are expected to see the most rainfall with up to 80 millimeters possible. Other regions – like the Okanagan and Kootenays – are more likely to see 30 to 50 millimetres.

“There is some uncertainty associated with the exact trajectory of the low and this will be a factor impacting the amount of rain in each region,” Environment Canada’s statement said.

Multiple high flooding advisories were issued Monday for those regions that will see extra rain in the coming days.

The River Forecast Center upgraded a flood watch for Elk River to a flood warning Monday and announced flood watches for Upper Columbia and West Kootenay areas.

“Rising snowmelt rates and unsettled and showery weather have been leading to rising river levels throughout the region,” the forecast center said.

“A number of rivers through the region are currently at or approaching two-year return period flows, particularly in the East Kootenay.”

Meanwhile, high streamflow advisories are in place for the Okanagan, including Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton. The Similkameen River and Boundary region could also be impacted by heavy rain.

“River levels are expected to experience a (rise) on Monday and Tuesday in response to rainfall and on-going snowmelt in higher elevation terrain,” the River Forecast Center warned.

“The public is advised to stay clear of the fast-flowing rivers and potentially unstable riverbanks during the high-streamflow period.”

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