The provincial government is advising the public to use caution and prepare for some shoreline flooding given increased water levels of the Nicola Lake and the Nicola River.

The rapid snowmelt of the past week and recent heavy rainstorm, which brought 19 millimetres of rain in about an hour last Friday, has Nicola Lake at full supply.

The water level in Nicola is expected to keep rising for the next seven to 10 days, and the water level of the Nicola River between Nicola Lake and the City of Merritt is expected remain high for the next two to three weeks.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has been releasing higherthan normal rates of water out of the lake into the Nicola River from its dam to make space in the lake.

The ministry says that residents next to the lake can expect some shoreline flooding, and the public is advised to prepare for possible flooding of lowlying areas by moving equipment and other assets from these areas to higher ground, where possible.

During high river flows, river banks can be unstable and prone to sudden collapse.

Residents should be aware that unforeseen adverse weather conditions may affect water levels and flow forecasts, and result in some degree of flooding along the length of the river.

People should stay well away from the banks of fast-flowing streams and flooded areas or bridges. Young children and pets can be at particular risk during this period.

Just over a week ago, a spokesperson for the B.C. River Forecast Centre said that despite unseasonably warm spring temperatures and water levels running at “110 to 113 per cent above normal”, there was no serious concern about any potential flooding anywhere in the Lower Nicola Valley.

The river forecast centre will continue monitoring all areas of the province and has a mandate to issue immediate warnings about potential flooding across the entire province.

Until the entire snowpack across the region has melted, the river forecasting centre will continue to monitor flood risk across this region and the entire province.