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Peak levels predicted for Shuswap Lake in late May, early June if heat persists

Salmon River expected to keep dropping unless unforeseen heavy rains materialize
AIM Roads clears debris from under the Haines Road bridge in Silver Creek to prevent flooding during the weekend of May 6, 2023. (Photo contributed)

As temperatures in Salmon Arm are forecast to remain in the low 30s until Saturday, water levels remain in focus.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District issued a media release on Tuesday, May 16, noting that water levels in the Salmon River have been dropping. However, high-water concerns remain for some properties around the river as high temperatures increase the rate of snow melt from above.

“The Shuswap Emergency Program is not anticipating any significant issues in the larger rivers unless an unforeseen rainstorm brings heavy precipitation into the area. Localized rainstorms always have the potential to affect smaller water systems, especially in areas with steep slopes,” reads the release.

Environment Canada forecasts highs of 29, 30 and 32 C for Salmon Arm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, dropping to 28, 25 and 22 C on May 20, 21 and 22. A 30 per cent chance of showers is predicted for Saturday, followed by 60 per cent Sunday and a mix of sun and cloud for the long weekend Monday.

Meanwhile, the level of Shuswap Lake is increasing rapidly as the heat accelerates the snow melt and the rate of run-off from rivers, streams and creeks. The Shuswap Emergency Program is monitoring water levels, as the lowest-lying properties could see flooding in the coming weeks.

The CSRD surmises the levels of Shuswap Lake could peak earlier than usual, possibly by the end of May or early June, due to high temperatures. In 2022 the lake peaked later than usual, in early July.

The public is warned to be extremely cautious near fast-running water or flooded areas, staying well back from creek banks. Water flow rates are swift enough to easily overwhelm even strong swimmers. Children and pets must always be supervised near such dangers.

Boat operators are also reminded that spring run-off increases the level of debris in local lakes. Boaters are asked to slow down and use extreme caution to avoid collisions with logs or branches.

Read more: Residents in Shuswap brace for high temperatures as they protect homes from flooding

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Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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