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Heat wave mixed with snowmelt puts Cariboo rivers on flood watch

The BC River Forecast Centre says river levels in the upper Fraser and Chilcotin will rise
The Chilcotin River below Big Creek, as seen here flooding in July 2019, is under a flood warning in June of 2021 due to high temperatures. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo)

High temperatures have put some rivers in B.C. at risk of dangerous flooding.

The BC River Forecast Centre issued a flood warning at 1 p.m. on June 29 for the upper Fraser, followed by a flood warning on Wednesday, June 30 for the Chilcotin River, Taseko River, Chilko River and Big Creek and surrounding tributaries draining from the Chilcotin Mountains.

“The extremely hot temperatures have triggered an astounding amount of snowmelt at the higher elevations of the Upper Fraser River,” a warning reads. “The stations that still have remaining snowpack are melting at 80‐100mm of snow water equivalent per day.”

A flood warning is issued when river levels have exceeded or are about to exceed their banks. Flooding in adjacent areas is expected.

Temperatures are forecasted to remain over 30°C until at least Friday.

VIDEO: B.C. sees temperatures hot enough to cook an egg on pavement – kind of

Expected rainfall could provide some relief from the heat, but not for the river, according to the centre.

“The Upper Fraser is extremely vulnerable if a moderate to heavy rain event occurs in the upcoming 5‐days,” the warning reads.

The Lillooet near Pemberton and at Tenas Narrows, the Harrison River near Harrison Hot Springs and upper Columbia River are under a flood watch.

A flood watch is issues when river levels will approach or may exceed the banks. Some flooding in adjacent areas is expected.

Other areas around the province, including the Quesnel River near Quesnel and Likely are under a flood advisory.

A high streamflow advisory is marked by rising river levels, but no major flooding is expected.

“The public is advised to stay clear of the fast-flowing rivers and potentially unstable riverbanks during the high-streamflow period,” the advisory reads.

A map of what areas are under a flooding alerts is available at

READ MORE: High temperatures close schools, local businesses around Quesnel

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