The Thompson River system is on the decline, say personnel at the City of Kamloops emergency operations centre.
And the weather is co-operating by holding off on further downpours — at least for the time being.
In the meantime, strong currents carrying massive pieces of debris, including logs spanning 30 feet in length, is leading the RCMP to maintain its river closure over the Canada Day long weekend.
“It would drive you down so fast,” said Const. Bernie Ward. “The power of that water right now, the current, you can’t fight it. And if people were to use the river and needed rescue, it would bring emergency support staff into a great deal of danger.”
At 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thompson River levels at the Overlanders Bridge had reached 344.12 metres above sea level. By Wednesday afternoon, it had dropped to 344.08.
“So we think the peak is over and we’ll continue to see a decline,” said City information officer Tammy Robertson.
Long range weather forecasts hint at another upper-level low-pressure system after the long weekend, said Doug Lundquist of Environment Canada, leading to the possibility of further heavy rainfall.
But in the short term, weather is finally returning to normal for this time of year, he said.
“So it’s not completely over yet. But at least for the forecastable future, we’re in a much more benign pattern now.”
The peaking water and the milder weather all bodes well, said Dave Campbell of the B.C. River Forecast Centre.
“With the positive weather forecast that Doug has just given, we are expecting to see ongoing improvement in the coming days across the Interior.”
The Kamloops emergency operations centre remains on Level 2 activation until at least this morning to monitor river levels and inspect dikes and City infrastructure, stated a City press release.
RCMP are reminding people that the North Thompson River from Halston Bridge south, and the South Thompson River from LaFarge Bridge to Kamloops Lake is closed to recreational users.
“It’s about not having people on floating devices on the river period,” said Ward. “That’s belly boat or an inflatable or whatever, because things can get out of hand pretty fast.”
With tourists coming into town for the long weekend, residents are asked to let visitors know they should stay off the river.
Police so far haven’t had problems related to people entering the river, said Ward.
And City officials dismissed reports that park users broke locks on fencing erected along the riverbank and crossed over the Gabion flood barrier.
“We don’t have any reports of damage,” said Robertson. “We don’t have any concerns.”
Ward said the river closure will be lifted “as soon as it is safe to do.”