Critical Week Ahead for Bulkley River Situation -- But Skeena Expected to Escape Flooding

5/14/2018

Terrace's Fire Chief says officials are keeping a careful watch of river levels on the Skeena -- but at this point, they're about normal for this time of year.

John Klie says officials are prepared in case the river comes up suddenly, but at the moment, he's hopeful the city will avoid the flooding that's plaguing much of the province.

"Right now our river is rising but it's kind of normal for this time of year, so it's just about at the 8.5 metre, and our snowpack is going down quite quickly so we're hoping, even though it's going to get warmer by the end of the week, up in the high 20's, we're hoping that the snowpack is now low enough because we've had good melt runoff in the last week, two-week period, so we're hoping that the majority of the snow is gone and our river may get up to the nine-metre mark which again is below our flooding," he explained.

Further east, the River Forecast Centre is maintaining its Flood Warning for the Bulkley River and its tributaries, and its Flood Watch for the Nautley and Nechako Rivers, as well as lakes in the Burns Lake and Francois Lake areas.

River Forecast Centre Head Dave Campbell says there's still enough snow left on area mountains to cause flooding, and the next few days should determine whether or not it actually occurs.

"This week is really the critical period for the Bulkley, barring any kind of extreme rainfall going forward, but the potential is very much there. Going forward beyond this week, we really will have melted out that snow." said Campbell.

The Ebenezer Flats neighbourhood across the river from Smithers remains on Evacuation Alert, with the Bulkley-Nechako Regional District warning residents to be ready to evacuate on short notice.