Flooding along 224 Street in Maple Ridge. (The News files)

Flooding along 224 Street in Maple Ridge. (The News files)

Flood risk high across the province

Snowpack is high across B.C., warm weather starts spring freshet

The flood watch is beginning in B.C., and the province is warning residents to prepare for the spring flood season.

The risk of flooding is elevated in B.C. due to an above normal snowpack, combined with recent warm temperatures which have increased melting. The Public Safety Ministry has issued a warning that the entire province faces risk, particularly in parts of the Interior and the North.

According to the BC River Forecast Centre, the provincial snowpack is at 112 per cent of normal.

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Maple Ridge has experienced flooding in the recent past, generally brought on by a combination of factors including high rainfall events.

The public is urged to follow all directions of local authorities and take steps to prepare for the possibility of flooding.

The most severe floods usually occur in spring and early summer when melting snow and rain combine, but they can also be caused by storm surges, ice jams or damage to structures like dikes or dams.

Tips to help prepare:

• Protect your home: prepare for possible flooding of low-lying areas by moving equipment and other assets from these areas to higher ground, where possible. Clear perimeter drains, eaves troughs and gutters. Sandbags also help and can be made available through your local government.

• Create grab-and-go bags: assemble an individual grab-and-go 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 waterway, a change in water colour or 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 something out of the ordinary.

• If you face a threatening flood situation, park vehicles away from streams and waterways, move electrical appliances to upper floors and make sure to anchor fuel supplies. Listen to local officials if you are asked to evacuate. In the event of flooding, here are some tips about what to avoid:

• Steer clear of river shorelines: keep away from river edges and shorelines. During periods of high flow, river banks may be unstable and more prone to sudden collapse. Stay well away and keep young children and pets away from the banks of fast-flowing streams and flooded areas or bridges.

Have a story tip? Email: ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

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