British Columbians urged to prepare for spring flood season

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British Columbians are urged to take steps to prepare for spring flooding to protect their families and property.

A warming trend this week raises temperatures to a season high with the possibility of moderate to heavy rainfall forecast for the weekend.

The risk of spring flooding is high across British Columbia, especially in parts of the interior and north, due to a significant delay in snowmelt due to cooler than normal conditions in April and May. Current modeling indicates the potential for flooding conditions to occur over the weekend in the interior and northwestern watersheds of British Columbia.

British Columbians are urged to follow all directions from local authorities and take steps to prepare for the possibility of flooding.

The most severe flooding in spring and early summer usually occurs due to melting snow, rain, or a combination of both. Flooding can also be caused by storm surges, ice jams, or damage to structures like levees or dams. Here are some tips to help you and your family prepare for possible flooding:

  • Protect your home: prepare for possible flooding of low-lying areas by moving equipment and other objects from these areas to higher ground when possible. Clear your perimeter drains, gutters and gutters. If you think you need sandbags to protect your home, you should contact your local government for more information.
  • Create to-go bags: assemble an individual carry-on bag for each member of your household with the essentials you will need if you are asked to evacuate.
  • Recognize the danger signs: If you live near a stream, a change in water color or a rapid change in water level (especially a drop) could indicate a problem upstream. Call your local fire, police or public works department immediately if you suspect anything unusual.

If you face a threatening flood situation, park vehicles away from creeks and waterways, move electrical appliances to higher floors, and be sure to anchor fuel supplies. Listen to local authorities if you are told to evacuate.

In the event of flooding, here are some tips on what to avoid:

  • Stay away from the shores: stay away from river edges and shores. During periods of high flow, river banks can be unstable and more prone to sudden collapse. Keep a safe distance and keep young children and pets away from the banks of fast moving streams and flooded areas or bridges.
  • Do not drive through flood waters: never attempt to drive or walk through flood waters. Just 15 centimeters (six inches) of fast-moving water can topple an adult, while 0.6 meters (two feet) of rushing water can wash away most vehicles, including SUVs and pickup trucks.
  • Landslide risk: heavy rains and snowmelt can contribute to landslides and dangerous debris in streams and waterways. Be careful and don’t go down to watch the rushing water. If you notice trees beginning to lean or bend near your home or cracks forming in the side of the hill, contact local authorities.

If you are placed on evacuation alert for any reason, you must immediately:

  • Prepare to leave your home on short notice.
  • Prepare your carry-out bags (which should include several days worth of clothing, toiletries, and medication), your emergency plan, copies of important documents (including flood and house insurance), and important keepsakes.
  • Listen to local emergency authorities for more information on the situation.

If you are placed under an evacuation order for any reason, you must:

  • Leave the area immediately.
  • Follow the instructions of local emergency authorities and evacuate using the route(s) they have identified.
  • Do not return home until you have been informed that the evacuation order has been cancelled.

More details are available in PreparedBC’s Flood Preparedness Guide, which contains useful information to help British Columbians understand what to do if their home or community is at risk of flooding.

Learn more:

Flood Preparedness Guide: www.preparedbc.ca/floods

For tips on how to prepare take-out bags, visit: www.preparedbc.ca/emergencykit

For more information on evacuation alerts and orders, visit: www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca

Or follow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/EmergencyInfoBC

River Forecast Center: http://bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/

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