With snowpack levels the highest the province has experienced since 2012, the risk of flooding in the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) continues to increase. It is imperative that all RDCK residents take the necessary steps to be flood prepared.

Currently the West Kootenay’s snowpack is at 128% of normal. With the reduced snowmelt rates, rivers, creeks and streams across the RDCK are flowing at seasonal to below seasonal levels. Weather plays a key role in whether flooding occurs, and cooler spring temperatures, periods of extreme heat, and wet weather can all exacerbate flood risk. The cooler temperatures through April and May have increased the risk of flooding if an extended period of extreme heat occurs in June.

The key to emergency preparedness is knowing the risks and having a plan. Know the hazards in your area and take the time NOW to assemble your family Emergency Kit and Grab and Go Bag. Your plan should also include where you will meet if you need to evacuate, including moving pets and livestock to a safe area, in the event the situation worsens and an Evacuation Order is enforced. Sandbags and sand are also available for residents at any of the locations listed on the RDCK website: www.rdck.ca/befloodprepared

 Sign up for emergency notifications, through Voyent Alert! The RDCK uses the mass-notification system to send out critical information to residents and visitors in the event of an emergency. Residents should also be aware that the province has expanded use of its broadcast intrusive system to include flooding and wildfire messaging. This allows local government and First Nations to use the service to alert residents if there is an imminent threat to life and public safety. This system will be used to amplify Evacuation Orders in the RDCK.

 The RDCK warns everyone to stay away from the edges of rivers, streams and creeks and report any erosion or flooding to the Provincial Emergency Coordinator Centre at 1-800-663-3456. Residents and business along Kootenay Lake are encouraged to keep a close eye on lake levels and assess what impact rising lake levels may have on their property and be prepared in the event there is a sudden rise in lake level. FortisBC provides daily updates on current and forecasted lake levels. For the most current information and to sign up for lake level notices, visit www.fortisbc.com/lakelevel

For details about evacuations and emergency preparedness, along with other resources, please visit www.rdck.ca/eocinfo Follow the RDCK website, Facebook and Twitter for the most up to date information.

RDCK