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Sunday, December 04, 2022

Flood threat means extended closure of city boat launched in Kamloops

MacArthur Island experienced light flooding over the weekend, resulting in the closure of a route and portions of a disc golf course

The extended closure of city boat launches amid a cold and wet June may not be welcome news for those craving summer fun in the sun, but the measure is necessary as the city continues to monitor flood risk in Kamloops .

MacArthur Island experienced light flooding over the weekend, resulting in the closure of a route and parts of a disc golf course, and the city is warning of a prolonged closure of boat launches, potentially leading to Canada Day Moving on from a long weekend.

The BC River Forecasting Center has issued flood monitoring for the North and South Thompson River basins.

The city’s utility services manager, Greg Whiteman, provided a virtual media update on Tuesday (June 14). He said the rivers are rising and “approaching or exceeding Bankful”, but this mostly applies to “the upper reaches of those two systems and not specifically here in Kamloop.”

Wightman said the city continues to monitor the weather. The city is seeing significant amounts of rainfall in Kootnej, adding water to the Shuswap River. However, Kamloops dodged that bullet. Light rain is expected this week in River City, which Whitman described as a “good thing.” The city does not want to see significant rainfall (30 mm in 24 hours).

“Whatever avoids a significant rainfall would be a best-case scenario and a worst-case scenario of a large system bringing heavy rainfall over a period of a day or two to anywhere in the South or North Thompson Valleys,” he said. “Obviously, it just doesn’t have to be in Kamloops.”

Wightman said the Boss Mountain Mine Snow Index, which helps indicate when the North Thompson River will peak, will reach snow-free conditions over the next few days.

Based on this, North Thompson could peak midway next week, Wightman said, and hopefully South Thompson does not peak at the same time, which remains a possibility.

“It’s hard to say a bit,” said Wightman, when asked when South Thompson might peak.

The risk of flooding increases when two rivers peak together, as they did in 1972, causing major flooding.

North Thompson usually peaks in the first week of June, while South Thompson usually peaks in the third week of the month.

“Certainly, the rain we’re seeing through the Kootenaise spreading into the Shuswap River is going to raise the level there and that’s part of pushing that river system into flood monitoring, so a little bit at this point. Unknown,” Whitman said. “The best guess would be here at the end of the month, at the end of June, so hopefully the answer will come a few weeks after Thompson. But of course the two rivers are likely to converge this year.”

Whitman said rivers are expected to remain elevated for longer periods of time this year.

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