The Skeena River, pictured May 15, lies within normal levels during this year’s spring run off.

River Forecast Centre expects low flood risk from Skeena

As high temperatures persist, river levels expected to stay within two-year norms

Skeena River levels are expected to stay well below the highs threatening communities in other parts of the province this year, according to the River Forecast Centre.

Since the onset of the 2018 spring runoff, the Skeena River levels have consistently registered at one-or-two year highs, well within what’s considered normal.

As of press time Tuesday, heading into the fourth consecutive week of high temperatures, forecasts for today (May 17) called for a Skeena discharge of 3,748 cubic-metres per second at the Usk River gauge.

The only area of concern in the Northwest is the Bulkley River near Smithers, expected to approach a 50-year high by Saturday.

READ MORE: B.C. flood watch to intensify over next week

Head of the River Forecast Centre, David Campbell, said the department will anxiously watch the situation this week as what he called extreme temperatures cutting in to the upper-elevation snowpack that remain up to 80 per cent intact.

While some regions fear the worst, the Skeena is expected to come through very well with river levels barely exceeding two-year highs by May 22 before dropping.

“The model is picking up on the thought that the bulk of the snow…is going to be diminished by that time,” Campbell said.

“I think on the Skeena we’re in better shape given the lower snowpacks for this year. From the Bulkley side of the tributaries there have been higher flows … but the basin as a whole has not seen those higher snowpacks.

“At this point I’m not concerned about specific flood risk associated with that for the Skeena,” Campbell said.

In a press release the City of Terrace said the fire department is currently monitoring river levels and sees what it describes as only typical activity.

READ MORE: 13 people rescued after Kitimat River floods (2017)

“The City of Terrace Fire Department is currently monitoring river levels around the city, and what we are seeing is normal runoff and water levels for this time of year,” said John Klie, chief of the Terrace Fire Department. “Should there be a change, we are prepared to respond accordingly.”

Monitoring will continue throughout the week.


 


quinn@terracestandard.com

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