The River Forecast Centre issued a high streamflow advisory for several regions in B.C. this week, including the Central Interior and tributaries around Merritt.

According to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, a ridge of high pressure is building across British Columbia and ushering warmer weather and snowmelt.

“Current weather forecasts are indicating the potential for an upper low system to transition to wetter weather, particularly for south-east B.C.,” the ministry said in a press release. “While it is still too early in the snow melt season for significant flows in the larger river systems of the province, smaller streams and tributaries that are fed by low-to-mid elevation terrain are at the greatest risk of high flows over the next several days.”

The rivers flowing through Merritt fall into this at-risk category. The Nicola Valley could see double or more the current flow in smaller rivers over the next few days, B.C.’s River Forecast Centre warned.

According to the River Forecast Centre, the Nicola Lake Dam has been actively drawn down since the beginning of March in anticipation of high snowpack, and is currently at a record low for this time of year. The organization also reported inflows, outflows and lake levels are monitored daily.

“The outflow is currently controlled by the outlet channel and we are not able to release any more water than is being released right now. Since inflows are higher than the outflows, the lake is rising and we expect that to continue until we can release more water than is coming in,” said a representative from B.C.’s Water Management Branch. “Outflows will be managed to release as much water as possible without causing flooding in Merritt.”

As we are at the very start of the snowmelt freshet season, the River Forecast Centre noted flood risks are likely to extend for another six to eight weeks in B.C.’s Interior.