As warming weather begins to melt the snow both in Okanagan-Shuswap cities and towns and the mountains above them, local and regional governments are working to mitigate the possibility of flooding caused by rapidly melting snow.
Derek Sutherland, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s (CSRD) protective services team leader said the CSRD is stocking up on sandbags and choosing locations to deploy the supply they do have.
He added the CSRD have met with their provincial partners to develop strategies for combined response and mitigation efforts should flooding take place.
“People are concerned with the forecasted warmer weather and the potential for snow melt, however from a flood perspective we are happy that the melt has started fairly early. The hope is to have a more gradual snow melt so the moisture is absorbed into the watershed at a slower, more sustainable rate,” Sutherland said.
Sutherland said homeowners who are concerned about moisture infiltrating their homes can clear the snow away from their foundations.
The City of Salmon Arm is already working to move snowbanks and windrows to help expose curbs and catch basins to assist with drainage as the snow melts.
City director of engineering and public works Rob Niewenhuizen said city staff will also be checking storm sewer inlet and outlet structures over the next few weeks in anticipation of the snow melt. He said it will take some time to cover the whole City so if residents see large puddles forming on the roads the should contact the public works department at 250-803-4080 or at 250-803-2535 after normal business hours.
“If residents are removing snow from around their homes we ask that they keep any snow on their property as placing this snow on the street is potentially dangerous and can block drainage,” Niewenhuizen said.