Evacuation alerts issued along the Similkameen River due to ice jams

Evac alerts issued near river

UPDATE: 6:05 p.m.

A small number of properties have now been put on evacuation alert by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, in preparation for possible further flooding.

Properties near Keremeos at Riverside Estates and near Princeton along the Similkameen River are on alert and asked to prepare, as ice jams on the Similkameen River may result in a rise of river levels and damage to properties.

The list of properties are listed below, pictured in the maps or available on the RDOS site here.

  • 3455 HIGHWAY 3
  • 3491 HIGHWAY 3
  • 1260 HIGHWAY 3
  • 1264 HIGHWAY 3
  • 1306 HIGHWAY 3

For more information, visit the RDOS EOC site for helpful links and information, or call the EOC: 250-490-4225

UPDATE: 11:38 a.m.

Keep a safe distance from waterways and river banks, as the possibility of ice jams in the Similkameen grow.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen Emergency Operations Centre (RDOS EOC) has been activated to watch for potential ice jams, currently monitoring flows on area rivers.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) is monitoring as well.

Water levels can fluctuate quickly in the river and erosion can cause river banks to become unstable, as seen in November with the flooding throughout the area.

If residents notice ice jamming and you or your property may be threatened, the EOC is asking you to leave the area if it is safe to do so and call 9-1-1

"During an ice jam, water levels can rise over minutes or hours. Ice jams can also release suddenly, sending fast-flowing water and ice downstream. An ice jam release can cause water levels to decrease quickly near the ice jam but rise downstream," the EOC shared.

Tips to prepare for an ice jam:

  • Follow information on weather advisories from the River Forecast Centre
  • Have a plan and educate others, including neighbours
  • Have access to a sump pump
  • Know the risks associated with living in a floodplain
  • Have an emergency kit and grab-and-go bag available and easily accessible

Residents can also sign up for the Voyent Alert! notifications online here to register for routine and emergency notifications via email, text, or telephone.

For further information, call the EOC Monday to Friday between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm at 250-490-4225.

ORIGINAL: 10 a.m.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen is asking residents living near rivers in the Similkameen to watch for potential ice jams, as freezing temperatures continue.

Ice jam floods can be unpredictable and potentially more destructive than open water flooding. Ice jams start forming when ice blocks break up and flow downstream knocking more ice loose en route.

If residents spot conditions changing, they are asked to call the RDOS Emergency Operations Centre 250-490-4225.

An update is expected from the RDOS Wednesday mid-day.

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