By Laura Keil

Heavy rainfall and warm temperatures over the last week have caused streams and rivers to swell, and the BC River Forecast centre has issued a Flood Watch warning for much of the Eastern portion of the province, including McBride, Valemount, Mount Robson and the Robson Valley.

There is a Flood Watch for Upper Fraser River tributaries upstream of Prince George, including the McGregor River, Willow River, Bowron River, Dakehl Territory and surrounding tributaries.

Environment and Climate Change Canada issued a Special Weather Statement on Sun. May 21st indicating that heavy rainfall is expected on Tues. May 23rd.

“A significant and slow-moving low-pressure system developing over central Alberta will bring rain into the region,” a statement said. “Light rain will begin Monday before becoming heavier on Tuesday. Rainfall totals could range from 30-50 mm, with higher amounts expected on east-facing mountain slopes.”

Locations listed under the Special Weather Statement include Prince George, McBride, Quesnel and Williams Lake. The forecast centre says many rivers in the Cariboo and Upper Fraser are flowing very high for the time of year due to recent hot temperatures and rapid snowmelt. 

“With moderate to heavy rainfall possible on Tuesday, rivers could rise rapidly to potential flood levels. Conditions will be dependent on the location, duration and magnitude of the incoming storm event.”

River levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly. Being near these riverbanks, creeks and fast flowing bodies of water is dangerous the Forecast Centre warns: Stay clear of fast-flowing rivers and potentially unstable riverbanks, avoid recreational activities such as fishing, swimming, boating or hiking near high streamflow rivers or streams and high streamflow can easily trap strong swimmers, increasing risk of drowning.