Jesse McCullough and Cass Hall fill sandbags at the Grand Forks arena on May 28, 2020. (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

Jesse McCullough and Cass Hall fill sandbags at the Grand Forks arena on May 28, 2020. (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

Boundary issued flood watch advisory, predictions show river peaks on May 31, June 1

Forecasts fell Thursday, but RDKB prepares for flooding that “could approach or exceed” 2017 levels

The Boundary has been told to brace for moderate flood levels on May 31 and June 1, as temperatures are predicted to rise well-above the seasonal average across the region this weekend.

Considering the warm weather, combined with predicted rain events over the weekend, the BC River Forecast Centre issued a Flood Watch advisory for the Boundary region Thursday, including areas along the Kettle River, West Kettle River, Granby River and their tributaries.

“Current river forecasts show the Kettle River at typical freshet levels for the next 48 hours, then rising to moderate flood levels on Sunday, May 31 through Monday, June 1, depending upon rainfall location and amounts,” a release from the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) reads.

“In the past 24 hours the forecasts have dropped slightly as we receive more accurate information, but we are still watching for a scenario that could approach or exceed what we saw in 2017 where low-lying properties were flooded and we saw access to some roads cut off,” said Mark Stephens, RDKB emergency operations centre manager.

June 1 forecasted peaks for the rivers of the Boundary fell slightly between May 27 and May 28, but still remain at or higher than this year’s high-water marks set last week.

“A great deal of uncertainty exists with any forecast more than two days out, and the RDKB will continue to receive briefings from the BC River Forecast Centre and from our own Freshet Planning Team who are assessing risks near creeks and rivers across the Boundary as well as update the public with new information,” the release says.

The Kettle River has been running near its bank-full capacity for over a month, and at its latest crest (May 19) overran a damaged berm and into the Grand Forks neighbourhood of Johnson Flats, affecting two structures and prompting an evacuation alert to six properties in the area.

The RDKB said that members of its flood response team have looked at the damaged berm, but currently (May 28, 5 p.m.) have no plan to reinforce it before the next crest.

“We have already initiated operational preparations by bringing in Tiger Dam and flood response experts to our team and will start to place equipment to protect core communities and major infrastructure if more accurate flood predictions before the weekend show that needs to happen,” said Stephens.

Tiger dams and other temporary flood protection equipment is “ready to be deployed to protect major public infrastructure if necessary,” Thursday’s release says.

Sandbags are also available in Beaverdell, Westbridge, Rock Creek and Grand Forks.

Residents can follow regional district updates at emergency.rdkb.com.

“Anyone at risk of flooding should stay informed about local freshet conditions, and ensure they have considered plans for moving valuable items, livestock or other items to safe locations if required,” the RDKB said.

Read more: Two more Johnson Flats properties given evacuation alerts


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Jensen.edwards@grandforksgazette.ca

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