People in the South Okanagan have been asked to prepare now for potential emergencies after a cold May and delayed snowmelt has increased the risk of flooding.
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) issued an emergency preparedness reminder on Wednesday, June 1, in response to a recent B.C.-based study saying the chances of disaster striking have increased since the start of spring.
Data from the River Forecast Centre Snow Survey and Water Supply Bulletin released on May 15 references delayed snowmelt “persisted to cooler spring temperatures” as to why the risk for flooding has gone up.
“Continued cool weather is increasing the risk for flooding if a prolonged heatwave occurs over the next few weeks,” the RDOS said in its reminder.“(The region) is reminding residents and property owners in low-lying areas to be proactive and remove personal items that may be damaged by high groundwater or flooding.”
The province-wide study also says that rivers are more vulnerable to freshet high flows because of the historic November floods in Princeton and in parts of the Fraser Valley.
“Please use caution around streams, lakes and rivers where water levels may be rising or fast-moving,” the regional district added.
Preparing for a potential flood includes having an emergency kit with enough supplies for 72 hours, according to the RDOS.
Training efforts for staff and volunteers were ramped by the region at the beginning of May to mark the start of the National Emergency Preparedness Week, headlined by three points of emphasis:
• Know the risks
• Make a plan
• Get an emergency kit