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UPDATE: Smithers, Telkwa and regional district issue hazard notice following flood warning

Bulkley expected to exceed flood level and reach 10-year high this week
The Bulkley River at the Lunan Boat Launch near Smithers is already exceeding its banks and is expected to reach a 10-year high May 17 or 18. (Marisca Bakker/Smithers Interior News)

The Skeena watershed, including the Bulkley River, is currently under a flood warning as unseasonably high temperatures have accelerated the spring melt.

“On the Bulkley River near Smithers… flows are expected to exceed the flood stage (>5.0m) today and may reach up to 10-year flow levels (5.4m) over the Wednesday-Thursday period (May 17-18),” B.C.’s River Forecast Centre posted today (May 15).

Low-lying areas are already seeing the Bulkley overflow its banks. This evening the Town of Smithers, Village of Telkwa and Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako issued a Hazard Notice recommending people “exercise extreme caution or limit recreation near and around the river…”

Sandbags are available through the town, village and regional district.

The notice also gave tips for flooding preparation including moving livestock, equipment and belonging to higher ground and gathering a week’s worth of supplies such as food, water, medications and immediate care needs.

Meanwhile, the Skeena is already flooding low-lying areas of Terrace in New Remo to the west and Thornhill to the east.

Flooding on the Skeena River could reach a 20-year high as early as Wednesday, the flood warning said.

Thirty-seven heat records were set across B.C. on Monday, including in Smithers and Terrace, where the mercury hit 29.5 C, shattering a record that had stood in the Terrace area since 1925.

A statement from BC Hydro on Tuesday said power consumption in the province reached an all-time hourly high for May on Monday night, as people used fans and air conditioners to cool down.

Consumption hit 7,600 megawatts, and though temperatures have since cooled, the Crown utility said it expects above-average demand for the rest of the week.

- Files from Canadian Press

READ MORE: Northwest BC areas under flooding evacuation alerts

READ MORE: B.C.’s financial assistance application now open for 2023 flood damages

Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
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