Okanagan warned to keep an eye on rising water

BC RIver Forecast Centre issues high streamflow advisory for all of Okanagan and SImilkameen River tributaries

The rapidly melting snowpack and heavy rain has prompted the issuance of a high streamflow advisory for most parts of the Southern Interior, including the Okanagan and for tributaries of the Similkameen River.

According to the bulletin, issued Wednesday by the BC River Forecast Centre, “river levels are expected to remain elevated, or continue to rise, through Friday of this week in response to rainfall.

“High stream flow and localized minor flooding in low‐lying areas is possible, and will primarily be confined to smaller watersheds within the region. Flood conditions in medium to larger river systems are not expected at this time.”

A high streamflow advisory means river levels are rising or rising rapidly, but no major flooding is expected to occur, although minor flooding in low-lying areas is possible.

In response to the warning and evacuation alerts in Tulameen and other communities,  Emergency Management BC issued its own advisory Thursday urging caution around waterways and listing the following precautions:

– Avoid small creeks and rivers, as their channels tend to be narrow and can fill up quickly. Also, eroded banks result in unstable ground.

– Watch for changing conditions, particularly if you live in low-lying areas or near waterways.

– Check perimeter drains around your property and ensure they are clear of debris.

– Drive carefully and never attempt to drive through floodwater. If you are planning to travel, follow current highway conditions and any road closures. If your vehicle stalls in floodwater, get out quickly and move to higher ground.

-Always obey emergency officials who are involved in rescue or flood control operations, including those directing traffic.