Today the BC River Forecast Centre released the latest Snow Survey and Water Supply Bulletin, showing higher-than-normal levels for both the Boundary and West Kootenay snowpacks. The Boundary snowpack is at 128 per cent of normal, which is a seven per cent increase since January 1, 2020. The West Kootenay snowpack is also higher than normal at 126 per cent and it has increased 15 per cent since last reported.
“Snowpack is one of the three components that determines the rate of spring runoff, and although the current snowpack is high this does not necessarily equate to a flood event in spring. The amount of snow received at high elevations in February, March and April can vary widely, and snowpack levels can increase or decrease significantly through the late winter months,” said Mark Stephens, Interim Emergency Program Manager at the RDKB.
The RDKB emergency program monitors snowpack, river levels and weather forecasts daily and communicates regularly with provincial staff at the BC River Forecast Centre and emergency program staff at Emergency Management BC. Emergency officials also play a key role in educating residents to prepare themselves for any emergencies that could occur in the region. Before the 2020 freshet, the Emergency Program encourages residents to do three things:
- Ensure that drains, culverts and other means of moving water away from residences remain clear as the snow continues to melt.
- Sign up to receive emergency evacuation alerts on a landline, mobile device or by email at emergency.rdkb.com or contact the RDKB directly at 1-800-355-7352 to get help signing up.
- Prepare by developing a household emergency plan, putting together a grab-and-go bag and connecting with neighbours. Emergencies teach us that knowing neighbours and developing a neighbourhood emergency plan can dramatically change how we fare in an emergency and how we recover afterwards.
“Here in the Boundary many people are still feeling the effects of the 2018 Boundary Flood and hearing that we have another high snowpack year this year is no doubt concerning to some ,” said Roly Russell, RDKB Electoral Area ‘D’/Rural Grand Forks Director. “I’ve been intimately involved in our emergency response and recovery strategy, and know that as a community we have made great strides in implementing the lessons we have learned from past flooding. It always pays to be prepared, but these current snowpack estimates are not at this time a cause for alarm.”
“As a regional district we have been working with all our emergency service partners in all levels of government and at the community level. We have a flood response plan, we have refined our evacuation route planning and improved our mapping and communications,” said Diane Langman, RDKB Board Chair. “I am confident we are as prepared as we can be for this freshet season.”
The RDKB Emergency Program will update the public as new snowpack information is available. Emergency Program staff will continue to review flood response plans and protocols, discuss contingency planning with other agencies, and complete the ongoing work underway to recover from the 2018 Boundary Flood.
Information on current river and snowpack levels is available at emergency.rdkb.com.
More information about preparing for emergencies is available on the Prepared BC website: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/preparedbc