RDOS issues reminder to prepare for spring freshet and potential flooding

RDOS: Prepare for freshet

An increased flood risk highlighted by the BC River Forecast Centre has prompted the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen to remind residents to prepare for the spring melt.

The forecast centre published its latest snow survey Tuesday, which states cool weather in April has increased the flood risk considerably, delaying snowmelt.

Continued cool weather is increasing the risk of flooding if a prolonged heatwave occurs over the next few weeks.

"The current snowpack in the Similkameen region is near normal, however, due to significant erosion and possible changes to the river channel morphology, some rivers (including the Tulameen River) may be at increased risk of flooding at lower levels," the RDOS said in their news release.

"Prolonged rain events may impact water levels in rivers and tributaries."

According to the River Forecast Centre, the unprecedented and catastrophic flooding that occurred in November 2021, has made many rivers more vulnerable to freshet high flows.

The most likely cause for major flooding would be a period of persistent cool temperatures and wet weather followed by a sudden, lengthy heat wave.

"Please use caution around streams, lakes, and rivers where water levels may be rising or fast-moving. It’s also important to stay clear of eroded banks."

Property owners who want to sandbag their property can find sandbags available at no charge at sandbag centres, including fire halls in Tulameen and Coalmont. Sandbag locations are listed on the RDOS interactive sandbag map.

Emergency preparedness also includes having a plan to ensure your family and pet’s needs are considered before an unexpected event occurs. Pre-planning, including having emergency kits with enough supplies for 72 hours and having fuel in generators, can help your family cope should conditions change suddenly.

For further information, please visit the RDOS Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) website.

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