Rising Similkameen River levels prompted the Regional District Okanagan-Similkmaeen to declare a State of Local Emergency for Area G (Keremeos Rural/Hedley).
Levels in the river are predicted to rise significantly this week with warmer temperatures and rain in the forecast.
A press release from RDOS stated, “… due to threat of flooding as the Similkameen River levels are expected increase over the next few days which may threaten life, safety and cause significant property damage.”
Parts of Highway 3 in Area G were underwater Tuesday morning as the river breached its banks in low lying areas.
Declaring a state of local emergency enables local authorities to regional district to utilize the emergency powers listed in the Emergency Program Act. The emergency powers are used by the local authority to order the evacuation of residents from their homes, prohibit travel and enter private property when an emergency threatens lives, property or the environment within the local authority’s jurisdiction.
In the event that the situation deteriorates, residents will be given as much notice as possible via an advance Evacuation Alert which may be followed by an Evacuation Order. Once evacuated, residents should leave the evacuated area immediately and register at the reception centre identified.
Residents are encouraged to pack a 72-hour bag that includes important papers, medication, clothing, food and other items so they can be prepared if they do need to evacuate quickly.