NEWS

Heavy rainfall triggers B.C. flood watches

06/05/2012 11:24 EDT | Updated 08/05/2012 05:12 EDT

A heavy rainfall warning has prompted officials in B.C. to issue high streamflow advisories for rivers across large parts of the province's Interior.

Environment Canada is forecasting 40 to 75 millimetres of rain could fall over the eastern half of the province on Tuesday and Wednesday.

As a result, the B.C. River Forecast Centre issued has upgraded high streamflow advisories to a flood watch for much of the region.

The centre says Kootenay rivers will continue rise Tuesday and Wednesday, following the heavy rain that began on Monday.

Rivers in the South Interior and Okanagan-Kettle region are expected to begin rising early on Tuesday and continue rising into Wednesday and potentially Thursday.

In the North Thompson, Upper Fraser and Peace regions, rivers are expected to begin rising later than southern B.C., with the onset of the rise starting later Tuesday and into Wednesday, and peak levels expected on Thursday or into Friday, said the advisory.

"The current five-day forecast for the Fraser River at South Fort George is forecasting river levels to approach flood stage by Thursday or Friday," the advisory warned.

"At this stage there is still uncertainty over the overall amounts of rain that will fall, and the locations which will experience the heaviest rainfall. As a result, river level forecasts are expected to change over the next several days as weather modelling and weather observations continue to track the progress of this weather event."

Last month, the B.C. River Forecast Centre said the higher than normal snowpack in the mountains created an "exceptional" seasonal flood risk.

On Monday, officials in Prince George closed parts of Cottonwood Island Park and parts of the Heritage River trails due to high water levels. The trails are closed from the Cameron Street Bridge to Fort George Park until further notice.

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