County, town brace for flooding

High and large piles of snow are located in several parts of High Prairie, including this one by the High Prairie Children’s Centre, that could create large puddles as the snow melts under warmer temperatures in the coming weeks.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Flooding and high water could hit some areas in the region as a high snowpack melts in the coming weeks of spring.

Big Lakes County faces the higher potential for local flooding while the impact in the Town of High Prairie is expected to be minimal, municipal officials say.

“Minor flooding may occur in different areas of the county, depending on the weather,” says Vic Abel, director of public works.

“The best case scenario would be a slow melt with freezing at night and the worst case scenario would be high temperatures in the day with no freezing at night.”

He said in mid-March that he expects flooding would occur during the melt.

County crews continue to take measures to be proactive to prevent high waters and protect property, he says.

“The county has also cleared ditches that have given us problems in the past,” Abel says.

Citizens can also assist the county to monitor potential problem areas.

“If land owners see water backing up due to frozen culverts, please call the county,” Abel says.

Risks can be reported by phoning the county office at [780] 523-5955.

Sandbags are also available for county residents, Abel says.

Minimal problems are anticipated in the Town of High Prairie, says Vern Walker, superin- tendant of public works.

“I don’t anticipate too much flooding in town,” Walker says.

“For the most part, everything in town should be fine.”

Town crews opened up culverts from the previous thaw weeks ago, he says.

The banks of the West Prairie River in town are fairly high and it will spill over north of town before it will in the town, he says.

“When it melts, it will melt fast,” Walker says.

“I would be more concerned about the county.”

After a frigid start to spring on March 20 when temperatures have hovered around –20C, the weather is predicted to warm up to about freezing early this week, according to The Weather Network.

Forecasts predict a high temperature of 4C on April 9 and rise to 6C on April 13 and 9C on April 18.

Town of High Prairie public works crews continue to clear and remove snow from back alleys to provide better drainage as snow melts under warmer temperatures in the coming weeks.
Piles of snow at the Sports Palace could help create large puddles as the snow melts and flooding, but unlikely unless drains become blocked.


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