A graph of the snow water equivalent at the Grano Creek monitoring station north of Grand Forks indicates that the 2020 levels measured on April 5 amount to approximately 75 per cent of the highest ever total recorded at the station on the same date. (Province of BC)

Snowpack measurements ‘promising’: RDKB

Measurements show Boundary snowpack just high of average range

Though the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary and the City of Grand Forks together have more than 200,000 empty burlap bags ready to fill come freshet – should the need arise – provincial funding to actually purchase sand to fill those bags would not be released until the province deemed there to be an immediate threat. A City of Grand Forks document in the April 5 council agenda says that “funding for sand is not available at this time as the Province deems there is no imminent risk of flooding.” Nevertheless, local governments are releasing basic details about a flood preparedness plan in Grand Forks.

• There are currently three designated sandbag locations: the Nursery Fire Hall (Hall 355), The Jack Goddard Memorial Arena and the Grand Forks Airport

• Grand Forks and RDKB Area D residents can call Grand Forks Fire/Rescue at 250-442-3612 to get sandbags

• The RDKB will be leading preparation communications through its website: emergency.rdkb.com

At the Grano Creek snowpack monitoring station just southeast of Granby Provincial Park, the April 5 automated measurement indicates that the current snow water equivalent at that station is approximately three-quarters of its historical maximum peak for this time of year (~600 mm as compared to ~800 mm), thanks in part to a relatively stable March. River flows on the Kettle and Granby rivers, meanwhile, saw a drastic uptick in flow rate over the last few days of March, before levelling out at their higher rate in early April.

As it monitors the situation, the RDKB says it is also working to release provincial funding for sand, “to break these barriers in order to be better prepared.”

“The numbers in the snowpack have been looking promising,” said RDKB interim emergency manager Mark Stephens. As of April 6, data from the Grano Creek snowpack was just on the “cusp of historical average,” he said.

Stephens nevertheless advised Boundary residents in a video-update with Area D director Roly Russell and Grand Forks mayor Brian Taylor to “think about what your plan is going to look like,” noting that “considering what impact high water may have or has had on your personal property is important and in taking steps to prevent the damage that could be is critical.

Instructions on preparing a personal flood plan are available at emergency.rdkb.com.

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