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The watch begins as higher flows expected in Kettle River system through the weekend

The Kettle River near Rock Creek on April 26. Rivers are expected to peak in the next week to ten days. — Submitted photo

In a media release Thursday, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary said the watch continues of rivers as they move toward peak flows anywhere from seven to ten days from now, depending upon weather.

The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is activated to Level 2, with a Freshet Advanced Planning Team dedicated fulltime to river monitoring.

“Until we are closer to the weekend when river and weather forecast models enter the high confidence range, we won’t know which freshet scenario we are going to see, except to say that we are nowhere near what we saw in 2018,” said Mark Stephens, EOC Director for the RDKB in the media release.

"We could see one- to two-year return for river levels, and as always with high water could see some erosion."

 Recent updates from the BC River Forecast Centre show that snowmelt will accelerate in early May as temperatures hit the low twenties and possible unsettled weather could bring rainfall at higher elevations. The amount of rain in combination with air temperatures will determine whether rivers in the Boundary reach typical freshet levels with minimal flooding.

 “I have spoken with local directors and residents in the region and there is no doubt that this freshet is particularly stressful for many people in the Boundary,,” said Diane Langman, RDKB Chair and Lead for the EOC Policy Group.

"Not only are we all dealing with an ongoing pandemic, communities are still dealing with the impacts of the 2018 floods. We want to be sure that residents can prepare for whatever this freshet brings, while maintaining physical distance from others."

 The RDKB has stockpiled 250,000 sandbags and will announce sand pick up locations if the situation dictates a need. Sandbags and sand at these central sites would be free. Neither the RDKB nor the Province of BC will pay for sand ordered and delivered privately to any property in the region.

 The RDKB EOC in cooperation with Emergency Management BC and the City of Grand Forks will also pre-position flood protection equipment including Tiger Dams™ (large, tubular bladders ready to be filled with water) and HESCO Floodline bins (large, flexible cubes ready to be filled with earth) in the City of Grand Forks at the end of this week.

This equipment is a precautionary measure triggered through the new Regional Flood Response Plan and ensures flood protection for major public infrastructure is available if required. Equipment will not be installed unless needed and could be redeployed to other parts of the province if needed elsewhere.

 “As we approach our high water I would like to encourage residents to take the time and prepare by signing up for the RDKB evacuation alerting system and creating a personal or household preparedness plan,” said Stephens.

Residents who are 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 also asks everyone to stay away from the edges of watercourses.

To watch a video presentation of the 2020 Freshet Outlook and for more information about snow and river levels as well as how to prepare for the 2020 freshet, visit emergency.rdkb.com.

To register for the RDKB Emergency Alerting System got to https://ca.voyent-alert.com/vras/user-registration.html.

The RDKB will continue to update the public as new information is available.