Each year Kamloops deals with the threat of flooding from the North and South Thompson Rivers. The flood potential in any given year depends on the snow pack level within watersheds and warm spring weather.
The City of Kamloops works closely with the BC River Forecast Centre and Emergency Management BC to monitor snow pack levels, snow melt, and water levels in local waterways. The river elevation is measured daily at Overlanders Bridge from May 1 to July 15.
During the spring melt, here are some tips to protect your home:
- Shovel snow away from the foundation of your home and window wells to prevent seepage into your basement.
- If you are moving or piling snow, check furnace and exhaust vents to make sure snow and ice are not blocking them. Carbon monoxide can build up within your home as a result.
- Ensure your downspouts (eavestroughs) are clear and pointed away from your home/foundation.
- If you see pooled water on a roadway, be careful – don’t drive through deep water as you can’t see potentials risks or conditions that might be unsafe.
- Check the function of your sump pump.
- Clean out your back flow prevention valve which should be cleaned every 6 months.
To minimize flood water damage, sandbagging is one of the most versatile flood fighting tools and is a simple, effective way to prevent or reduce flood water damage. The following techniques can be used for filling sandbags and creating sandbag dikes:
- Construct the sandbag dike on high ground, as close as possible to your home or building. By being closer to your home or building, fewer bags will be needed, and the sandbag dike will be less exposed to the stream.
- Sandbagging should also focus along existing flood works or any low spots along dikes for maximum protection.
- Dig a trench one bag in depth and two bags wide as a foundation for the dike structure.
- To be effective, a dike must be three times as wide at its base as it is high.
- Sandbags should be turned right side out and filled half full. They need not be tied shut, just laid overlapping each other.
- The open ends of the sandbags should be facing upstream and/or uphill so that the moving water will not remove the sand from the bags as readily.
- Alternate direction of sandbags with bottom layer, i.e. bottom layer lengthwise with dike, next layer crosswise.
- As individual bags are put in place, walk on bags to tamp them into place to ensure maximum strength. Take care to avoid puncturing the bags.
- The butt ends of the bags should be placed facing the stream, for rows that are perpendicular to the stream.
- Each successive layer should be set back one-half sandbag width on both sides in each additional layer so a completed dike has a triangular cross-section.
- The number of sandbags needed to protect a home or building varies depending on the local topography and the anticipated depth of water.
As waters rise, individuals are advised to stay away from creeks and streams. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around, and go the other way; six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
Never underestimate the swiftness of the water; flooded rivers and streams are unpredictable. Even though the surface water may be smooth, the water is moving very fast. If you have to walk in water, wherever possible, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
Never attempt to drive or walk in flood water. A mere six inches of fast-moving water can knock over an adult. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including SUVs and pick-up trucks.