Areas of B.C. affected by recent atmospheric river-induced flooding won’t be hampered by heavy snow forecast, say officials.
Following heavy rains, Environment Canada has issued snowfall warnings for a number of areas, including Hope, Merritt and Princeton, which is forecast to see 15 centimetres of snow. There are no flood watches or warnings in place and cooler temperatures could be beneficial, Andrew Giles, manager of River Forecast and Flood Safety, told Black Press Media during a flood update Friday (Dec. 3).
“Those cooler temperatures do help to reduce the inflow to some of those already-affected river systems,” said Giles. “With the cooler temperatures, we’ll see reduced melting of snow pack in the mid to high elevations and also, the sustained freezing temperatures in the Interior of B.C. will help to reduce the water levels on the Fraser, which will help water be drained more quickly from the Sumas Prairie.”
Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said the heavy rains appear to be over and repair and restoration is taking place.
“Very intensive work on protecting infrastructure that remains usable. Also breaking rock and preparing to do the repair work, mobilizing material, mobilizing companies to do that work, so we’re in the planning stages on what that will look like as well, in terms of temporary access.”
Fleming said more information will be forthcoming as the province does more engineering assessments.
“We don’t have costs right now, but in terms of re-establishing access in areas of the Fraser Canyon, I can say that we have been working with communities like Cook’s Ferry and the Shackan First Nations to try and preserve property … BC Hydro is on the ground to restore power to those homes that currently don’t have power yet, so there’s a lot happening.”
Crews are on scene of a rock slide on Highway 12, closing the road between Lytton and Lillooet, which occurred last night. It is estimated to be re-opened later today, Fleming said. Highway 99, between Pemberton and Lillooet will remain closed as the result of a rock slide from Wednesday evening.
“Fortunately, all the other routes that are open in some capacity, are operating well,” said Fleming. “That includes Highway 3 east of Princeton, where floodwaters have now receded, allowing that route to resume to two-way traffic.”
Highway 1, through the Lower Mainland, re-opened yesterday and traffic also seems to be moving efficiently, Fleming said.