Weak spot found in Cawston dike, repairs underway

Crews were working to repair a portion of Cawston dike Saturday, May 12

A portion of the dike in Cawston eroded when the Similkameen River was running high.

George Bush, director for Area B, said no one realized the dike was compromised until it was noticed by a helicopter flying up and down the river looking for weak spots.

“There was a weak spot. It was undermined quite a bit. Nobody spotted it except they flew the river a few days ago. It cut quite a bit under the (dike) roadway,” he said.

All day dump trucks took material through town to the spot the dike was compromised just south of Cawston off VLA Road. It is not the same spot that was repaired several weeks ago.

Bush said the crews would most likely return Sunday to finish up work in preparation of high water expected to hit Thursday and Friday next week.

Bush said for the most part of what he saw Cawston area was quiet Saturday.

“It was kind of quiet. All the sandbags are out and placed. It’s the quiet before the storm, I guess,” he said.

Bush said a hydrologist was out Saturday morning taking a look around the Newton Road area.

“We had a hydrologist out to take a look just in case the river does come up a metre like they’re predicting,” he said.

Bush said the problem in that area is Keremeos Creek enters the Similkameen River there and when the river is high the creek backs up.

“If the river is running high that means the creek is running high too and that all has to go somewhere,” he said.

He had not yet heard the results of the assessment.

Warm temperatures throughout the weekend and next week are expected to melt the 200 per cent above average snowpack rapidly in the high elevation causing the river to swell.

Forecasts from the Nighthawk area river collection site predict the river will swell to more than 16 feet by Thursday and Friday which is considered a major flood.

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