A skier digs a path outside the Morice Mountain Ski Cabin

High snowpack spells elevated flood risk for Skeena-Nass

High snowpack has raised the risk of spring floods in the Skeena-Nass region, but chances of flooding depend mostly May and June weather.

High snow levels have raised the risk of spring flooding in the Skeena-Nass region, but actual chances of a Houston flood depend mostly on what weather comes in May and June.

B.C.’s River Forecast Centre reported the elevated regional flood risk in its latest snow bulletin, which is based on snowpack data collected up to early March.

By this time of year, more than 80 per cent of the B.C.’s snowpack has already built up.

Snow pillows at Lu Lake and Tahtsa Lake, which both feed Houston waterways, showed levels at 132 and 151 per cent above normal last week, with the Tahtsa Lake levels nearing a 19-year record.

“We have a pretty good idea of the snowpack at this point,” says RFC manager Wenda Mason.

With just a month to six weeks of snowpack potential, Mason said more than 80 per cent of B.C.’s snowpack hits is accounted for.

In a typical flood year, Houston residents are likely to see Buck Creek and the Bulkley River rise to flood levels first, with the Morice River peaking soon after.

But although high snowpack raises flood risk, Mason said the key to a freshet—or spring river rise—is what weather comes during the May and June snowmelt.

“Last year we had the freshet that went forever,” she said, adding that although B.C. had a high snowpack last year, it also had cooler than expected weather in the melt season.

“We were working constantly through May to the first half of July, where normally we’re done freshet by the first half of June,” she said.

Fire Chief Jim Daigneault, who coordinates Houston’s response to floods and other major emergencies, said the District is well prepared should flooding occur.

Houston’s dikes have been raised since last spring, he said, and a new pump station installed last year is ready to go.

Predicting weather is notoriously tricky, but the RFC’s March bulletin does point to one broad trend—more precipitation than usual in this La Nina year.

Mason said the RFC’s next bulletin, due in mid April, is the one that will prompt any necessary talks with local governments and emergency service coordinators.

Houston Fire Chief Jim Daigneault said the District is well prepared for snowmelt season this year, having raised the dikes outside town.

For the latest information on B.C. river levels, visit bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca.

 

Just Posted

Bulkley Valley SD 54 superintendent leaving

Chris van der Mark has been superintendent with SD54 for eight years, and has hands full in Cariboo.

B.C. chiefs show solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Chiefs from around B.C. outside the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in Smithers show support.

Woman killed in head-on crash near Vanderhoof

RCMP say driver crossed the centre line and hit a loaded fuel tanker truck

RCMP to review actions at Wet’suwet’en pipeline protest camps

Senior Mountie says he hopes protests will be peaceful following deal with hereditary chiefs

Houston property assessments nudge up

District now working on 2019 spending plans

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

Most Read