Water from the Salmon River moves from a flooded adjacent field and onto the frontage road east of the old Salmon River Bridge in Salmon Arm on Monday, May 8, 2023. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Water from the Salmon River moves from a flooded adjacent field and onto the frontage road east of the old Salmon River Bridge in Salmon Arm on Monday, May 8, 2023. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Hot weather to bring further snow melt, increased wildfire risk in Columbia Shuswap

Salmon Arm expected to reach temperature high of 32 C next weekend

Unseasonably warm temperatures in the forecast for the Columbia Shuswap have raised concerns around ongoing flooding and the risk of wildfires.

On Monday, May 8, both the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) and B.C.’s Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness urged caution and vigilance as the cool wet weather experienced over the May 6-7 weekend transitions to dry, hot weather that’s expected to reach 32 C as of Sunday, May 14.

“While the rainy weekend weather has abated, residents in flood-prone areas are advised to remain on guard against additional river flooding in the coming days,” said the CSRD in a media release. The regional district anticipates the warm weather will rapidly accelerate snow melt from higher elevations.

The Salmon River remains on Flood Watch status and the Shuswap Emergency Program is keeping its Emergency Operations Centre activated at level one.

Sand and bags are available to residents affected by flooding at:

  • Salmon Arm Public Works Yard, located at 100- 30th Street SE. Sand is available in a parking lot adjacent to the Little Mountain Sports Fields;
  • Silver Creek Fire Hall, 1577 Salmon River Road, Silver Creek;
  • Falkland Fire Hall, 2915 Gyp Road, Falkland.

To report low levels of sand and bags at these sites, call 250-833-3350.

“A number of Shuswap-area roads have been affected by high water,” said the CSRD. “They may be closed or require caution to navigate. If you need to report any issues with roads or bridges, call the AIM Roads 24/7 line at 1-866-222-4204 and their foreman will be deployed to the area.”

In a separate media release, the ministry explained lighter than expected rainfall over the weekend has relieved pressure on watersheds in the Interior. However, it urged people to “remain vigilant as conditions can change quickly and warm temperatures are expected this weekend.”

“Based on forecasting… precipitation levels for this week are expected to be mild, which will give rivers and streams in the Interior time to stabilize,” said the ministry. “Warming temperatures into this weekend (May 12-14) are expected to progress the snowmelt at higher elevations, which may reintroduce pressure on watersheds in the Interior and increase the risk of wildfire.”

The ministry said the province is closely coordinating with communities affected by floods and that provincial assets, including sandbags, sandbag machines and temporary retaining walls, have been deployed to communities at risk of potential flooding.

Meanwhile, as of May 8 there were 62 active wildfires burning in the province, 91 per cent of which were under control or being held. Only five of the fires remained out of control.

Read more: VIDEO: Flooding at Salmon Arm business washes onto and closes section of new frontage road

Read more: B.C. flood risk enters period of stabilization, but more snowmelt anticipated


lachlan@saobserver.net
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B.C. Floods 2021Columbia Shuswap Regional DistrictSalmon ArmShuswap