The BC River Forecast Centre has downgraded the flood warning for the Skeena Region, encompassing the Skeena River, the Bulkley River and its surrounding tributaries around Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan Territories, Telkwa, Smithers, Hazelton, Kispiox and Terrace to a flood watch on Sunday (May 21).
A high-pressure ridge that brought unseasonably warm weather over the past week begins is beginning to break down. No significant rainfall is forecast for the area over the next five days, likely alleviating flood concerns.
The BC River Forecast Centre said river levels reached their peak and are predicted to continue receding gradually through next week. Water levels at the Skeena River at Usk, the Kispiox River near Hazelton and the Bulkley River near Smithers and surrounding watersheds reached their peaks on May 17 and held steady through the week.
However, the advisory also warns that “rivers in the region remain vulnerable if significant rainfall occurs in the upcoming two weeks.” Heavy rain forecasted for other regions of the province over the next three days is not expected to impact the Skeena Region.
Despite the downgraded warning, the public is still advised to exercise caution around fast-flowing rivers and potentially unstable riverbanks. Recreational activities such as fishing, swimming, boating and hiking near high-streamflow rivers or streams should be avoided, as high streamflow can easily trap even strong swimmers, increasing the risk of drowning.
The BC River Forecast Centre continues to monitor conditions and will provide updates as necessary.
Viktor Elias joined the Terrace Standard in April 2023.