Flood Watch 2017: Bulkley River

SMITHERS May 15, 2017 ENDED - High Streamflow Advisory – Bulkley River

The River Forecast Centre is ending to a High Streamflow Advisory for: Bulkley River including small streams and tributaries around Houston, Telkwa, Smithers and surrounding areas. Peak levels on rivers through the region occurred over the weekend in response to heavy rain last week. Weather has improved, and river levels are receding and expected to continue to improve through this week.

The River Forecast Centre http://bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/warnings/advisories/flood65.htm will continue to monitor conditions and will update the advisory as conditions warrant.

  • A High Streamflow Advisory means that river levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly, but that no major flooding is expected.  Minor flooding in low-lying areas is possible.
  • A Flood Watch means that river levels are rising and will approach or may exceed bankfull.  Flooding of areas adjacent to affected rivers may occur.
  • A Flood Warning means that river levels have exceeded bankfull or will exceed bankfull imminently, and that flooding of areas adjacent to the rivers affected will result. 


SMITHERS May 12, 2017 – The Bulkley River has experienced rising flows over the past several days due to a prolonged rain event. Current weather forecasts from Environment Canada indicate the potential for rainfall totals in the 40 to 60 mm range over the Thursday to Friday evening period, and a rainfall warning has been issued. Snow melt is also contributing to streamflow in the region. Temperatures are expected to cool as this system develops, and snowmelt rates will likely decline as the weekend progresses.

Rivers in the region are expected to respond to the combined rainfall and snowmelt, with rising flows starting Thursday night, and extending into Saturday or Sunday. Current modelling is indicating the potential for flows on the Bulkley River near Smithers (Water Survey of Canada gauge 08EE005) to reach up to 800-1000 m3/s, or approximately a 10-year return period flow. Some flooding can occur at these levels. Similar conditions are expected in local creeks and rivers in the area.

Smithers residents are reminded to stay clear of streams during the spring runoff period due to highly saturated and unstable riverbank conditions and swiftly flowing water.  Livestock and other possessions of value should be moved to higher terrain if possible.

The River Forecast Centre will continue to monitor conditions and will provide updates as conditions warrant. Visit their website at: http://bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/warnings/

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