Sand and sandbags are now available for residents from Beaverdell through to Grand Forks, as the Kettle River system continues to rise with rainy weather and snow melt in the region.
Following bouts of intense rain through the region over the May long weekend, river forecast graphs suggest that river discharge will rise through the West Kettle, Kettle and Granby systems this week. A projection pulled on May 18 suggests that the West Kettle may see five-year return levels between May 19 and May 22, before falling off.
Projections for the Kettle and Granby rivers suggest slightly lower peaks this week, with those systems reaching two-year return levels. While levels at the monitoring station at Ferry, Wash., south of Midway have reached an “action” stage for that region, they are projected to stay more than two feet below 2017 levels.
To prepare, residents in the Westbridge, Beaverdell, Rock Creek, Midway and Grand Forks areas can pick up sandbags and sand, free of charge, at Beaverdell behind the Fire Hall, Westbridge Hall, at the Riverside Centre in Rock Creek and at the arena in Grand Forks.
Residents must bring their own tools and equipment (shovels, transportation) and respect a physical distance of two metres between workers as they fill sandbags.
The RDKB is monitoring all rivers and creeks in the region and will update the response based on forecasts in the next 12 to 24 hours and update the public accordingly. Current BC River Forecast Centre models show that rivers will reach seasonal peaks in the Boundary within the next seven to ten days, depending upon weather.
“We can reassure Boundary residents that we don’t have the snowpack we had in 2018. With these sandbag sites open now, we want to be sure that residents have time to prepare for some possible flooding while maintaining physical distance from others,” said Emergency Operations Centre director for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB)Mark Stephens in a May 13 release. “They may or may not see an actual need for those sandbags. Where and how much rain falls will determine that.”
Residents in the Boundary who are most 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 well away from the edges of creeks and rivers as banks become unstable during high water.
Sandbagging safety tips amid COVID-19 are available on the provincial website.
For more information about snow and river levels as well as how to prepare for the 2020 freshet, visit emergency.rdkb.com.