Caribou Crossing, the roadside stop outside Carcross, is experiencing flooding as the Yukon’s record snowpack melts.
In an April 29 virtual news briefing, Yukoners were told there has been above-average snowpack in many basins across the territory which could lead to a high potential for high flows and levels in rivers and lakes.
The Southern Lakes region was forecasted to have high water levels.
Patrick Brown, the Carcross/Tagish First Nation (CTFN) manager of operations, said they have been preparing for floods this year.
“The volume of snow here was incredible,” said Brown. “Hydrologists were doing snowpack checks and I thought this would be an abnormal year so we started getting prepared.”
Preparations began in January when Brown ordered 1,500 sandbags.
“Highways and Public Works brought us the sand and neighbours down the street helped us fill the bags,” said Brown. “We also connected with EMO (Emergency Measures Organization) and they provided us more bags.
“We have 3,500 sandbags ready to go. People can fill them up as they need them.”
There have been other small cases of flooding, a ditch began to overflow and wash out the road, but Brown said they were able to use pumps to move the water to a safer location.
“We are at about 155 per cent above precipitation levels and that is a volume we haven’t seen before,” said Brown. “It is something to be a little alarmed about.”
Brown said his department began preparing for the snowmelt in April. The warmer weather coming with the arrival of summer was the main reason preparations began early this year.
“We will be impacted in the summer when snow from the mountains melt,” said Brown. “The perfect storm for flooding will be a combination of ice breakup and rain.”
Contact John Tonin at firstname.lastname@example.org