May 4, 2020: Freshet update video posted by the RDKB.
Freshet Update – 2020-04-24
Staff from the City of Grand Forks and RDKB Emergency Operations Centre continue to monitor snowpack, river flow, and forecast information. The snowpack at low and middle elevation monitoring sites has been rapidly declining thanks to recent warm weather, which has led to the rise in stream and river levels observed in recent days.
Some precipitation is forecast in the next several days as rain at lower and middle elevations, with the possibility of some snow at higher elevations. Depending on the temperature and amount of rain over the coming weeks, there is a possibility of reaching early flood stages especially in the West Kettle River and various mid-sized creeks. While major flooding is not currently expected, people with property or homes that are prone to regular flooding should prepare to move things away from low lying areas.
As weather conditions change, the City and RDKB are continually identifying areas of risk and preparing resources to be ready for use if needed. The City is cleaning out culverts and storm catch-basins to allow rapid drainage of excess water and will be preparing sandbags for protecting vulnerable critical infrastructure to help maintain essential services for the community. The City has plans for distribution of sandbags for filling through community partners and will release information once arrangements are complete.
The RDKB and Province are in close communication about flood protection resources that may be required if flood risk increases, including plans to move resources to the region if required. There are over 250,000 empty sandbags stockpiled in the region, with the City of Grand Forks storing around half. The RDKB EOC is working with Emergency Management BC to secure sand for predetermined sites across the Boundary as required.
The RDKB has activated the regional flood response plan. Current snowpack and river conditions are just starting to reach trigger points for Stage 3 (Enhanced Awareness), however with COVID-19 precautions in place the field teams began proactively operating at Stage 3 levels last week, including extra monitoring for erosion or sloughing on riverbanks. There are six stages to the plan, each with increasing numbers of actions associated as a freshet progresses in severity. For comparison, the 2018 Boundary Flood would be at Stage 6 (Major Flooding), the highest response level in the plan, while water reaching the parking lot at Grand Forks City Park would occur in Stage 4 (Minor Flooding).
Current information on the Boundary freshet is regularly updated at https://emergency.rdkb.com/Latest-Updates/Freshet-Conditions