British Columbia

B.C. flood risk will last into July, forecasters warn

British Columbia has reached the peak window of spring snowmelt, but experts say the dangers of flooding will persist for weeks, with record snow in the mountains and unstable weather in the forecast.

Search efforts for a missing woman in Kelowna continue to be on hold because of unstable conditions

The B.C. River Forecast Centre is warning people who live near flood-prone bodies of water to be prepared for rising water levels for several weeks. (Tom Popyk/CBC)

British Columbia has reached the peak window of spring snowmelt, but experts say the dangers of flooding will persist for weeks, with record snow in the mountains and unstable weather in the forecast.

Dave Campbell, head of the River Forecast Centre, said they believe the freshet runoff into rivers and lakes has reached its height, but snow is expected to continue melting for the next two weeks.

He said the delay in snow pack melt this year means a greater risk of flooding will persist into July.

Armel Castellan, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said the forecast for July shows drier and hotter conditions for the province.

Campbell said the hot weather scenario remains a "key concern'' for flood risk after record snow fell this year and was late to melt, with a continued challenge of "ongoing, unsettled'' precipitation in the short term.

Okanagan Lake continues to rise

In the Interior, Okanagan Lake has reached a level of 342.51 metres, three centimetres above full pool, and is expected to keep rising, the Central Okanagan Regional District said Friday.

"We're expecting a couple more weather events in the days ahead that will bring rain and wind," said emergency program co-ordinator Sandra Follack, adding that residents in the region should take precautions.

Environment Canada has issued severe thunderstorm watches for the East Columbia, East Kootenay and Kootenay Lake regions with conditions capable of producing strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain.

Follack said crews are closely monitoring creek and lake levels in order to protect critical infrastructure.

Search for missing woman still on hold

Meanwhile, Kelowna RCMP say search efforts for a woman who went missing earlier this week are still on hold because of unsafe conditions.

Chelsea Cardno, 31, has not been seen since setting out for a walk with her dog near Mission Creek on Tuesday morning. Search teams had been scouring the area, but the swollen river banks of the flooding creek have been too unstable for them to get close safely.

A woman in a pink ponytail holds a young black dog.
Chelsea Cardno is seen with her German shepherd J.J. Search and rescue teams have suspended their search for her near the fast-moving Mission Creek. (Kelowna RCMP)

Ed Henczel of the Okanagan Search and Rescue Society said prior to the search being suspended, crews had scoured the area all the way from Mission Creek to Okanagan Lake using ground crews, boats and helicopters. 

RCMP said they don't expect search and rescue teams to be able to safely resume their efforts until Saturday at the earliest.

With files from Zahra Premji and Tom Popyk, CBC News

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