Flooding at Hayes Creek off the Princeton Summerland Road, 24 km mark. Photo credit Richard Lawlor

Princeton area prepares for what may be torrential flood waters

“We could expect a one-in-100-year flood this year.”

While the area has received some unprecedented flooding in recent weeks, it isn’t over.

Also, it is likely to get worse.

While Princeton has experienced only a spot flood caused by China Creek over the weekend, eyes are on Allison Creek along Highway 5A, Princeton Summerland Road, Osprey, Chain and Link Lake areas and Tulameen.

RDOS Director Bob Coyne said experts have warned “we could expect a one-in-100-year flood this year…That’s the amount of water that’s in the mountains.”

As of May 1, according to the ministry of environment, the snow pack in the Okanagan is at 206 per cent of normal, the highest observed snow pack dating back to 1980.

Related:Water pools along Highway 3 causing dangerous conditions

Coyne said Tuesday morning that the flow gage at Siwash Creek near Osprey Lake was showing record numbers, and volunteer fire departments across the region are monitoring creek levels and continuing to sandbag.

“The worst is yet to come,” said Coyne, adding that reactions are mixed in various small communities.

“It’s anywhere from disbelief to people that are planning, getting prepared, and then there are people who are getting a little panicky.”

Coyne urged anyone who has concerns to call the Emergency Operations Centre at 250-490-4225.

“If you are getting localized flooding please call and report it so that we know where it is at.”

Related : Rain hits the Okanagan, flood concerns mount

Lyle Thomas, information officer for the Town of Princeton, said as of Tuesday the Similkameen and Tulameen Rivers are flowing through town “so far at levels that we would call normal spring run off.”

The Tulameen is fluctuating at between four and five feet, he said.

“Four to five feet is pretty normal for us. We can handle that.”

The coming snow melt is a concern, however.

“Bottom line is we are monitoring but we are doing okay. At this point we are monitoring things on a daily basis.”

The only trouble spot so far has been China Creek, he said, which overflowed due to a log jam that was cleaned up by firefighters, ground search and rescue volunteers and town crews.

“We are making sure China Creek is clear and just taking it day by day.

Thomas said the town is served by a series of well-maintained dikes.

“Over the years Princeton has accessed some provincial funding programs and we’ve been maintaining our dikes and improving our dikes year after year.”

Related: Twin Lakes residents brace for massive flooding

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Log jam on Siwash Creek at 28k Princeton Summerland Road. Photo credit Richard Lawlor

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