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Flood preparations in gear as melt accelerates

British Columbia, Canada
May 15, 2007
The mountain melt-off is accelerating in British Columbia, with a torrent of water triggering a massive mudslide that shut down the Trans-Canada Highway near Golden yesterday.
Higher than seasonal temperatures at the beginning of this week facilitated the melting of the third-largest snowpack ever recorded in the Fraser River watershed. Some mountains are holding 130 per cent more snow than usual, and civilian and military flood preparations are now well under way. The last major flood of the region took place under similar conditions in 1948.
Parks Canada spokeswoman Doreen McGillis said meltwater had cut a new channel down the side of a mountain, bypassing catchment drainage basins dug by Glacier National Park engineering crews.
"We do get, normally, mudslides in the eastern part of the park, but what is unusual with this one is that the new channel bypasses those protection measures," she said. "That doesn't usually happen."
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