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Posted: November 30, 2021

Rainfall and high stream warnings issued

A prolonged period of heavy rain today through Wednesday has prompted Environment Canada and the BC River Forecast Centre to issue a rainfall warning for the Elk Valley, a high streamflow advisory for much of the East Kootenay and a special weather statement for the Kootenay and Yoho national park areas.

Total rainfall between 50 to 70 mm is expected in the Elk Valley by Wednesday evening.

“A frontal system is giving heavy rain to the Elk Valley today. The heavy rain will continue tonight through Wednesday. There is potential for increased runoff due to snowmelt, increasing the risk of flooding,” Environment Canada stated.

A special weather statement is also in effect for Kootenay National Park and Yoho National Park.

The same frontal system will bring rain to the area except snow for Rogers Pass this morning, with 30 to 70 mm of rain possible up to Wednesday evening (Dec. 1), covering the following areas: Trans-Canada Highway – Eagle Pass to Rogers Pass, West Columbia, North Columbia, Kinbasket, and Yoho Park – Kootenay Park.

The frontal system is “giving rain to the area except for snow over Rogers Pass and Yoho Park – Kootenay Park. Snow levels will rise to near 2,000 metres tonight. This will be accompanied by heavy rainfall on Wednesday. There is potential for increased runoff due to snowmelt and the heavy rain on Wednesday, increasing the risk of flooding,” Environment Canada outlined.

As a result of all this, B.C. River Forecast Centre (BCRFC) is issuing or maintaining a High Streamflow Advisory for streams in southeast B.C. including: the Elk River and tributaries; St Mary River and tributaries; Upper Columbia including Revelstoke and Golden and surrounding areas including lower elevation and valley bottom tributaries; West Kootenay including lower elevation and valley bottom tributaries; and Duncan River and tributaries.

Warming temperatures during these atmospheric river events “is anticipated to lead to significant snowmelt at lower and valley bottom elevations, leading to rain-on-snow runoff in smaller tributaries. The public is advised to stay clear of the fast-flowing rivers and potentially unstable riverbanks during the high-streamflow period,” BCRFC advised.

A High Streamflow Advisory means that river levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly, but that no major flooding is expected. Minor flooding in low-lying areas is possible.

“Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads. Watch for possible washouts near rivers, creeks and culverts,” Environment Canada added.

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