City keeping close eye on Elk River

The City of Fernie has said there is “no cause for alarm” about the Elk Valley flooding at this time.

  • Jun. 2, 2011 7:00 p.m.

The City of Fernie has said there is “no cause for alarm” about the Elk Valley flooding at this time.

The City said they are prepared for all possibilities, but at this stage their main concern is making sure people are aware of the dangers of being near the river when it is running so fast.

Terry Nelson, Senior Engineering Technologist at the City of Fernie, said the depth of the Elk River has not increased significantly over the last week due to colder temperatures reducing snow melt, but with warmer temperatures in the forecast, this could change.

“Nobody has a crystal ball to know what’s going to happen,” he said. “But we had an awareness meeting last week on Tuesday and we are monitoring water levels on a daily basis. Everybody’s paying attention and we have a plan. We do not want people to be alarmed at this stage, but we do want them to be careful around fast flowing water. The banks are unstable and this is where the real danger is at the moment, rather than the risk of flooding.”

The snow pillow, measured at Morrissey, was at 900mm of snow water when it was measured on Friday, the highest it has been at this time of year since 1996.

The BC Rivers Forecast centre has lifted several flood warnings in southeastern B.C., including Cranbrook, but said warmer temperatures in the coming days could cause more snow to melt, hiking the flood risk again.

“Snow melt rates in the region have been low, as cool conditions have prevailed over the past several days. Environment Canada is forecasting some warmer conditions into the week. Snow melt rates are expected to increase and there is the potential for additional rises in river levels into the week,” said a statement issued on Sunday.