Flood Watch Advisory in Place for Bulkley Valley/Lakes District

A Flood Watch Advisory is now in place for the Bulkley River and its tributaries in the Houston, Telkwa and Smithers areas.

A rainfall warning remains in place for the region, with Environment Canada warning that rain -- heavy at times -- is expected, with two-day total amounts of 40 to 60 millimetres by Saturday.

The ground, already near saturation, has little ability to absorb further rainfall.

Dave Campbell, who heads up BC River Forecast Centre, says flood warnings haven't been issued at this point -- but that could come, depending on how quickly rivers and streams rise.

"This is really quite a bit of rain and so we're expecting that the river conditions are going to change quite dramatically over the next couple of days -- in terms of being prepared and things like that, kind of recognizing particularly for people that might live in flood-prone areas to be prepared and move things to appropriate areas and the general about being cautious around rivers," he said Thursday.

Campbell says the mountain snowpack hasn't been all that high -- recent measurements showed it at about 83% of normal -- but the Nechako is higher (around 110%) -- but with the spring snowmelt now underway, the heavy rain comes at a challenging time.

"The river's been ticking along, and kind of the normal seasonal flows -- we're in the snowmelt cycle --  but this is really quite a bit of rain and flows have been coming up, and the timing of this rain event is really tied in with that melt -- and the combination of those two is what's leading to some concern," he said.

The Bulkley-Nechako Regional District is advising residents that it's difficult to predict if flooding and bank erosion will occur, and people are advised not to recreate on or near the Bulkley River -- including small streams and tributaries.

You can find more information on the BC River Forecast Centre website -- click http://bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/warnings/advisories/flood57.htm