British Columbians are urged to be prepared for the spring flood season.
The Ministry of Public Safety and the Solicitor General says the risk of flooding is elevated this spring due to an above-normal snowpack. The province says all of BC faces risk, particularly the Interior and the North.
According to the Ministry, BC’s most severe floods usually occur in the spring and early summer when melting snow and rain combine, but flooding can also be caused by storm surges, ice jams, or damages to structures like dikes or dams.
The Ministry recommends the following measures to be prepared for a flood:
- Protect your home: move equipment and assets from low-lying areas to higher ground where possible. Clean perimeter drains, eavestroughs, and gutters. Sandbags will help as well.
- Have grab-and-go bags: assemble grab-and-go bags for all household members with essentials in case of an evacuation.
- Recognize danger signs: a change in watercolour or rapid change in water level, especially a drop, could indicate a problem upstream. Call your local fire, police, or public works department immediately if you suspect something out of the ordinary
If you face a threatening flood situation, park vehicles away from streams and waterways, move electrical appliances to upper floors and make sure to anchor fuel supplies. Listen to local officials if you are asked to evacuate.
In the event of flooding, the Ministry of Public Safety recommends the following:
Steer clear of river shorelines. During periods of high flow, river banks may be unstable and prone to a sudden collapse. Never attempt to drive or walk through floodwater. Heavy rain and snowmelt can contribute to landslides and dangerous debris in waterways.
More details are available in PreparedBC’s Flood Preparedness Guide, which contains useful information to help British Columbians understand what to do if their home or community is at risk of flooding.