With Nicola Lake above full pool and with inflows to Nicola Lake still exceeding outflows, the province has given the City of Merritt notice that another gate change is in the process of being made at the Nicola Lake Dam, to release an additional 3 cubic metres per second.
Merritt residents should expect river levels to rise 3-4 inches between the hours of 5:00 PM and 9:00 PM today.
“The City has conducted a review and taken measurements of current river levels and it is not anticipated that any residents will experience overland flooding with this change,” wrote Sean Smith.
The plan is to make this final increase, which should slow the rate of rise in Nicola Lake to a point where inflows to the lake will match outflows over the next few days. Once that happens, river levels can gradually be eased back.
“However, we caution residents that with rain in the forecast for the next 24 hours and the possibility for inflows to remain high, further increases from the dam and flooding remain a genuine possibility. We encourage concerned residents to make any necessary preparations to protect their property,” added Smith.
Pre-filled sandbags are available at the Civic Centre parking lot for anyone that needs them.
The City has received notice from the provincial dam operator that a gate change has just been made, to allow an additional 3 cubic metres per second out of the Nicola Lake Dam. It is anticipated that between 7 pm and 11 pm yesterday (May 20), Nicola River levels will rise approximately 3 inches as a result of this change. It is likely, but not confirmed, that a similar change will be made today (May 21).
After a thorough review of our river system at current levels, as well as discussions with residents in the lowest-lying areas, the dam operator, making successive small increases is preferred to making one larger increase. This allows more water to pass, reducing future flood risk while allowing us to better assess and evaluate the effects of the current change before considering further increases.\
It is not expected that yesterday or today’s increase will result in overland flooding for residents.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt
Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:
"Today, we have 21 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 2,467 cases in British Columbia.
"There are 317 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 2,001 people who tested positive have recovered.
"Of the total COVID-19 cases, 43 individuals are hospitalized, 10 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
"Every health region in British Columbia has patients with COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 885 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,214 in the Fraser Health region, 126 in the Island Health region, 182 in the Interior Health region and 60 in the Northern Health region.
"We are saddened to report three new COVID-19 related deaths: one in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and two in the Fraser Health region, for a total of 149 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to the family, friends and caregivers of these individuals, as well as to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"There has been one new health-care outbreak at The Cedars in Mission assisted-living facility. Both outbreaks at Ridge Meadows Hospital have now been declared over. In total, 15 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and three acute-care units have active outbreaks.
"Public health teams continue to provide support for community outbreaks at the Oppenheimer Group, those in the poultry sector, at the Mission Institution and with those connected to the Kearl Lake plant in Alberta.
"Every step in BC's Restart Plan has been given careful thought and consideration to ensure the health and safety of British Columbians comes first.
"Our 'new normal' is different from the way we have done things before, but we can reopen our schools and our businesses, and increase our connections in a way that is safe for everyone.
"Today, the federal government spoke to the use of non-medical masks or cloth face coverings in public settings. When it is difficult to keep a safe physical distance for an extended period of time - for example, when you are on transit - this is a good way for you to protect those around you.
Merritt RCMP is now investigating after a piece of heavy equipment on a Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMX) site near Merritt BC was the target of an act of vandalism and theft one day and the subject of a suspicious blaze another.
On May 19, 2020 during the early morning hours, Merritt RCMP received a report of a suspicious vehicle fire, after crews discovered a blue Peterbuilt rope truck had burned. The blaze resulted in a total loss of the truck. The same commercial vehicle was targeted in an act of mischief and a theft of fuel earlier in the weekend.
“The fire scene had been secured by Merritt RCMP, for a full examination completed by forensic specialists and fire investigators with the RCMP Southeast District General Investigation Section,” states Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, Media Relations Officer for the RCMP Southeast District. “RCMP has since learned that there were individuals camping over the weekend in the immediate area of the impacted vehicle. GIS investigators are seeking to identify those campers, as they may hold key information.”
Police are also asking all motorists who may have travelled thru the area of Highway 5A and Tillery Road, outside of Merritt BC on the evening of May 18 into the early morning hours of May 19, to review their dash camera footage and contact police.
“At this stage of the investigation it is unknown whether the acts were targeted in nature or simply crimes of opportunity,” adds Cpl. O’Donaghey.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Merritt RCMP Detachment
Prior to the Victoria Day Long Weekend, BC Traffic Services (BCTS) announced that they were returning to pre-COVID levels of enforcement.
The decision was made having seen a noticeable spike in excessive speeding offences around the province.
While there were thankfully zero fatalities on the weekend, BCTS impounded nearly 150 vehicles for excessive speed.
“Last week I stated that this spike in excessive speed violations is concerning and unacceptable,” says Supt. Holly Turton. “That sentiment has not changed and I am disappointed that there are drivers who continue to choose to break the law and put themselves and others at risk. This is not a game. Our officers will continue to demonstrate their commitment to road safety. There is no excuse, including COVID-19, for this kind of high-risk driving behaviour anywhere in our province.”
One file of note in the Merritt area had a vehicle with four occupants, including one not wearing a seatbelt, stopped going 75 km/h over the posted speed limit on the Coquihalla.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt