Heavy rain brings high water

High water created a number of incidents in the upper North Thompson Valley last week but it appeared that no major damage resulted

  • Jun. 3, 2014 1:00 p.m.
The Clearwater River reaches near the top of the barriers protecting Clearwater Bible Camp on Tuesday, May 27 – about the peak of high water.

The Clearwater River reaches near the top of the barriers protecting Clearwater Bible Camp on Tuesday, May 27 – about the peak of high water.

High water created a number of incidents in the upper North Thompson Valley last week but it appeared that no major damage resulted.

Possibly the most serious was a blocked culvert at Second Canyon Creek on the road to Wells Gray Park.

The blockage threatened to wash out the road, which is the only access to and from the Upper Clearwater.

It appears that the first official notification of the blockage was after schoolbus driver Bill Dodds noticed that the canyon upstream of the culvert-and-fill crossing was nearly full of water as he drove north on Monday morning, May 26.

Dodds asked the parents at his first pickup to phone highways maintenance and inform them of the situation.

The schoolbus driver had the highways maintenance representative walk the crossing to verify that it was safe before Dodds drove the busload of students over it.

A crane with several large hooks on the end of its cable was brought in but seemed unable to dislodge the debris piled up in front of the culvert.

A number of six-inch pumps were used to lower the water level so that an excavator could get close enough to the intake to clear it.

In the meantime, Thompson-Nicola Regional District issued an evacuation alert to the residents of Upper Clearwater on Tuesday evening.

People were advised to locate all family members and pets, and be prepared to evacuate their residences.

 

The evacuation alert was rescinded on Wednesday morning after the excavator cleared the culvert intake.

Washouts of similar culvert-and-fill crossings at First and Third canyons, plus Spahats Creek on the road to Wells Gray Park in previous years resulted in Upper Clearwater being cut off for up to several days at a time.

 

An inadequately cleared culvert also might have been involved in a situation in Blackpool.

There a home’s carport suffered some flooding. Sand bags provided by the TNRD plus assistance from members of Blackpool Fire Department in clearing the culvert helped alleviate the situation.

The BC River Forecast Centre issued a high streamflow advisory for the North Thompson River and a flood warning for the Clearwater River for a while.

Doug Trotter, owner of Interior Whitewater and with many years of experience on the Clearwater River, was surprised the river came up as quickly and as much as it did.

The snow pillows in Wells Gray Park had been showing below or normal snow levels all winter, he noted.

 

Several days of heavy rain plus rising temperatures apparently made the difference.

 

 

Clearwater Times