Flood preparations: Merritt sandbags early for two rivers

Kamloops Daily News
May 7, 2012 01:00 AM

The City of Merritt has stockpiled 45,000 sandbags and is placing them in low-lying areas now that Coldwater and Nicola rivers are quickly rising.

Merritt Mayor Susan Roline said bags are being filled at an industrial yard in the city and stored at the local fire hall.

"They're getting sandbags ready for low, low areas with a history of seepage."

Environment Canada's seven-day forecast calls for sunny weather with highs to 26C. Despite that forecast, Roline said the city has not been told by the River Forecast Centre there is any serious threat ahead.

"They're (Coldwater and Nicola) coming up quickly with the warmer weather," she said. "They're advising us to be watchful."

The rivers are also rising earlier than usual, she said.

Jason Tomlin, emergency services co-ordinator for the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, said he has yet to hear of any flood risks in rural areas in the Nicola Valley outside Merritt. The regional district conducts emergency planning across the region, outside the municipalities of Kamloops and Merritt.

The Ministry of Environment has some control on the level of the Nicola River because it controls an irrigation dam at the outflow of Nicola Lake.

Roline said the lake has plenty of storage capacity, and flow on the Nicola River can be restrained if need be.

Other rivers in the region remain well below flooding levels. The North Thompson River typically peaks in mid-June.

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