‘Usual’ flooding predicted in Smoky River

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Crews in the M.D. of Smoky River are preparing for flooding during the spring snowmelt.

“The M.D. faces the potential of some flooding due to the accumulated snowpack and late-season melting,” says Kevin Cymbaluk, director of operations.

“Many areas in the Peace region may face a similar situation.”

He says the M.D. usually receives an annual snowfall of just under 200 cm.

“We are not significantly over that amount,” Cymbaluk writes in an e-mail April 7.

Areas on the downstream of watershed basins are at high risk of experiencing flooding.

“The situation this year is comparable to what happened in April 2018 and April 2013,” Cymbaluk says.

“During those spring melts, the snowpack was similar to what exists in 2020 and the main runoff occurred late in April.”

As a result of generally longer and warmer days and the possibility of some rain showers during the transition into spring, it creates significant potential for some degree of flooding in the region.

“If a gradual warm-up occurs and freezing temperatures are slowing the runoff, the worst-case scenario could be averted,” Cymbaluk says.

Crews are working in many areas to open up ditches, roadsides and culvert ends.

Fortunately, there was no major runoff this winter, he says.

When that happens, culverts can become frozen and create even more flooding in the spring.

Citizens are advised to take precautions and remove snow in areas where runoff could damage any of their buildings or infrastructure.

Concerns can be discussed with municipal staff or councillors, who are all involved in monitoring problem areas.

Anyone who sees water accumulating is requested to phone the M.D. at [780] 837-2221.

“Be very cautious on municipal roads if flooding does occur since culverts can erode or wash out and water depth is often deceptive,” Cymbaluk says.

Municipal staff will be out with barricades, signage, stakes and sandbags if required.

Sandbags are also available for residents and will be prepared by the public works and emergency services departments.

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