The BC River Forecast Centre issued a flood watch advisory for the Coldwater River in Merritt Thursday afternoon, due to ongoing rain and snowmelt over the past week.
“Flows have been rapidly rising in response to this runoff,” stated the alert from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. “Flows are rising at the Coldwater River in Merritt and are currently at 55 [cubic meters] per second.”
Warm temperatures and an onslaught of rain on top of snow prompted the rapid increase in flows through the Coldwater River, explained Dave Campbell, head of the BC River Forecast Centre.
“It’s unusual for this time of year into the Interior, but it’s kind of the right conditions,” said Campbell, adding that he doesn’t foresee the high flows to last throughout the week as temperatures drop back down over the next few days.
A flood watch is a more severe alert than a high streamflow advisory, indicating that river levels are rising and will approach or exceed banks. The River Forecast Centre will continue to monitor the situation in Merritt, and update the advisory as conditions warrant.
The River Forecast Centre will issue a “flood warning” advisory only when river levels have exceeded bank full or will exceed bank full imminently, and that flooding of areas adjacent to the rivers affected will result.