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Rivers swell in Nelson area

The BC River Forecast centre issued a high streamflow advisory for the West and East Kootenays on Monday
With the recent heavy rains

Heavy rainfall this week could cause rivers to overflow, particularly near Slocan and Salmo.

The BC River Forecast centre issued a high streamflow advisory for the West and East Kootenays on Monday, after weather forecasts called for more than 25 mm of rain by Tuesday and more on the way Wednesday.

RDCK community services manager Joe Chirico said rainfall levels are often a concern this time of year.

“Significant flooding events tend to happen in the same places every year,” Chirico said. “People living in those problem areas are accustomed to seeing these warnings and being prepared.”

Chirico said it’s individual property owner’s responsibility to protect their land, while RDCK emergency responders take care of public property and the provincial crews focus on roads and other infrastructure.

Fire stations will provide sandbags to residents, though not the sand to go in them. Chirico said residents should also have a grab bag ready with emergency supplies to last them a few days, in case they need to evacuate their home.

The last time there was a major evacuation due to flooding was in Slocan in May 2006, when seasonal rainfall was combined with warm weather melting snowpacks, proving too much for the rivers to handle.

Chirico said this year’s rainfall doesn’t seem as severe as what he recalls from 2006, but still the public should keep an eye on the streams.

“With such a large area to watch, the extra help from the public is very important,” Chirico said.

Signs to watch for include water breaching the river banks or silt and debris in the water. Even after the rain lets up, there may still be cause for concern if the temperatures rise.

“There is still heavy snowpack at high elevation, which could impact the rivers the weather heats up too fast,” Chirico said.

If you notice signs of river flooding, call the Provincial Emergancy Program 24-hour response line at 1-800-663-3456.