The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) is warning Boundary residents to be careful and stay clear of fast-flowing rivers and creeks. The BC River Forecast Centre issued a High Stream flow Advisory on the afternoon of May 6 indicating that water levels rise in the next 24 to 48 hours with pockets of rainfall possible through the evening of May 6 in the mountains above the West Kettle, Kettle and Granby Rivers. Smaller streams and tributaries are running very high as a result of up to 30 millimetres of rain that fell across the Boundary region today.

The warning applies to tributaries and to the West Kettle, Kettle and Granby rivers. Erosion not visible above the water may cause banks to suddenly and unexpectedly collapse and debris to accumulate or dislodge at any time.

The potential for stream flow is in the 2-year to 5-year return period range, which means an average to slightly above average flow compared to a typical freshet season. Rises in water levels for larger rivers may happen as early as midday Thursday, May 7 and into Friday, May 8 with a period of higher flows expected over the weekend and into next week.

Major flooding is still not expected in the forecast period, but property owners with low-lying land should be taking care to have animals or vulnerable goods out of the low flood plain in case rivers rise further in the coming week. Property owners who see flooding in low-lying areas most years, or who typically have issues with spring groundwater are asked to remain vigilant. River levels are predicted to rise again with the arrival of warmer temperatures this weekend.

Farmers and others with rural property should check culverts and access roads for any damage due to the surge in smaller streams responding to the rainstorm. Building owners should check for localized drainage issues or water damage related to downspouts, roof maintenance or other site-specific concerns.