In past years, creeks within the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen have experienced significant flooding. The regional district is urging residents to take measures now to prepare for the possibility of spring flooding this year. (Black Press file photo)

In past years, creeks within the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen have experienced significant flooding. The regional district is urging residents to take measures now to prepare for the possibility of spring flooding this year. (Black Press file photo)

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen urges residents to prepare for flooding

Rapidly melting snowpack can result in localized flooding, landslides and mudslides

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is urging residents to take measures to prepare for the spring snow melt.

“Above-average snowpacks in areas across the region can lead to above-average spring runoff in the coming weeks,” a news release from the regional district states.

Rapidly melting snow can overwhelm stream channels and cause localized flooding. The spring freshet can also destabilize soil and rocks, causing mudslides, landslides and rockslides.

Property owners in British Columbia are responsible for taking the necessary steps to protect their homes and properties from flooding. The regional district will provide sand and sandbags for property owners as needed.

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Sandbag centres are opening throughout the regional district. Information for COVID-19 procedures can be found at each centre and on the Emergency Operations Centre website at emergency.rdos.bc.ca

The Emergency Operations Centre website also has updates and emergency preparedness information.

The regional district has several evacuation stages in place.

  • Evacuation Order: You are at risk. Leave the area immediately. The RCMP will enforce evacuation orders.
  • Evacuation Alert: Be ready to leave on short notice. If you leave before or during this alert, it’s called a voluntary evacuation.
  • Evacuation Rescind: All is currently safe and you can return home. Watch for other possible evacuation alerts or Orders.

The regional district also uses several flooding terms.

  • Flood Warning: River levels have exceeded bankfull or will exceed bankfull imminently, and flooding of areas adjacent to affected rivers will result.
  • Flood Watch: River levels are rising and will approach or may exceed bankfull. Flooding of areas adjacent to affected rivers may occur.
  • High Streamflow Advisory: River levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly, but no major flooding is expected. Minor flooding in low-lying areas is possible.

In recent years, spring flooding conditions have resulted in evacuation orders and alerts for residents within some parts of the regional district.

This year, the snow levels in the region are higher than the historical averages.

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