The water level in the Salmon River may have decreased a bit, but another storm system forecast for later this week is expected to bring it up again.
David Campbell, head of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations River Forecast Centre, says freshet is well underway at mid elevations.
“In some ways the onset was late, but it has come with a vengeance,” Campbell says, pointing out the river is experiencing one-in-10-year flows and that there have been higher flows than normal in some of the smaller to mid-size rivers. “It depends on the river; the Salmon River is extremely high but the actual Shuswap Lake level is quite a ways from peak – probably another month.”
Cooler than normal weather meant that snowpacks were still growing in April and rainfall at lower elevations was two to three times greater than normal.
As of May 1, snowpacks across the province had increased from 98 per cent to 218 per cent of normal. Snowpacks in the South Thomspon and Park Mtn. areas are 115 and 112 per cent of normal.
Rapid mid-elevation snow melt exacerbated by heavy rains has resulted in soil saturation and the current flooding and mudslide issues in the Shuswap.
Shuswap Lake levels will increase when high-elevation snow melts and feeds Shuswap River.
Campbell says this year’s weather scenario is not too different from 2012 when Sicamous experienced significant flooding and mudslides.
“It’s slightly different from how it’s played out; April rainfall was two to three times of normal and the storm and snow melt is the big challenge this year.”