DAWSON CREEK, B.C. — Officials with the City of Dawson Creek are bringing in pumps to help deal with the large volume of water surging down Dawson Creek itself, after water overtopped one of the City’s bridges.
The City’s General Manager of Development Services Kevin Henderson said that the 17th Street Bridge, which was closed to traffic late yesterday, was overtopped by water some time through the overnight hours. He said that the bridge is the only crossing that had – as of 10:00 a.m. Thursday – been overtopped by the creek’s water.
Henderson said that the crossing on 102nd Avenue just downstream of the 17th Street bridge is said to be impeding the creek’s flow, and that pumps are being brought in to move water that is accumulating behind the 102 Ave. culverts.
According to Henderson, the challenge faced by City officials is not knowing how much more snow is left to melt at near Dawson Creek’s headwaters.
“The water that’s coming to town is coming from well west of the city. It’s really understanding how much the snowpack melts out there, which is outside our area. What we found out yesterday is that it takes probably at least twelve hours for that water to show up. The million dollar question is has it all melted to a point where that peak flow is now here and its on its way down, or is there more to come? I don’t have that answer, but there’s potential. But every day that we have a melt like this is one day closer to the end of it.”
Henderson added that this year’s melt is slower than previous years, when rain combined with melting snow caused water levels to increase rapidly.
Data from the BC River Forecast Centre and from Environment Canada shows just how much water is passing through the South Peace. The Pouce Coupe River, into which Dawson Creek flows, recorded a peak flow of nearly 500 cubic metres per second through the overnight hours. On Monday night, that level only peaked at 175 cubic metres per second.