EOC Update: More Flooding likely in Similkameen River and Osoyoos Lake

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) is preparing for high water levels in the Similkameen River and Osoyoos Lake later this week. Warm temperatures and a high snow pack will lead to rising water which is expected from today with an estimated peak Friday.
 
The Similkameen River collects water from as far away as Manning Park and the Coquihalla Highway. Melt water from these mountains is predicted to rise with warm weather forecasted. The Similkameen River, and its tributaries such as the Tulameen River, have already created problems including the closure of Highway 3 and evacuation of homes.
 
The Similkameen River enters the Okanagan Valley just below Osoyoos Lake. It is expected to flow high enough to push as much as several feet of additional water back into Osoyoos Lake. Osoyoos Lake is already flooding with 53 properties and one lakefront hotel in Osoyoos and 17 properties in rural Electoral Area ‘A’ evacuated as of today.
 
RDOS Response
 
Since late March, the RDOS and local residents have been dealing with localized flooding and landslides. The snow pack within the RDOS has been estimated at 150% of normal. All rural Electoral Areas and several RDOS municipalities are under States of Local Emergency.
 
Already the RDOS, working with the Province of BC, has distributed 1 million sandbags. Dozens of locations of free sand and sandbags have been set up and maintained for residents.
 
BC Wildfire crews have established kilometers of sandbag walls, tiger dams and rock gabions to protect critical infrastructure and, when the resources are available, private properties.
 
Currently the RDOS is planning for the additional water moving into local creeks, rivers and lakes this week. Evacuation plans, including providing accommodation for people evacuated, have been developed. A public information meeting will be held at the Osoyoos Sonora Centre at 6:30 on Tuesday May 15th with officials from the Town of Osoyoos, Province of BC and RDOS.
 
How Residents can Help Themselves
 
Sand and sandbag locations have been set up across the RDOS. Volunteers can help by filling sandbags for affected residents. Residents can contact the RDOS at 250-490-4225 to get sand and sandbag locations and ask for additional sand and sandbags at those locations.
 
In the event of an evacuation order, residents should prepare to quickly leave their homes by preparing a kit with valuable documents, medications, cell phone charges and clothing. Rural residents should be prepared to stay in place if roads are washed out and power is lost. The Province of BC has recommendations on how to prepare.
 
In the case of evacuations, check local media for information on Reception Centres. Even if affected residents do not require help or accommodations, registering at the Evacuation Centre allows people to know you are safe.
 
Current Evacuations

  • Town of Osoyoos – 53 properties and 1 hotel evacuated
  • Rural Osoyoos – 17 properties evacuated
  • Tulameen (north west of Princeton, BC) – 15 properties evacuated
  • Sportsmens Bowl Rd (north of Oliver, BC) – 17 properties evacuated
  • Cawston – 1 property evacuated
  • Green Mountain Road – 1 property evacuated
  • Over 600 properties on Evacuation Alert

For all other inquiries, please call the Emergency Operations Centre: 250-490-4225.
For after-hours emergencies, please call the Provincial Emergency Program at 1-800-663-3456.
 
For more information, go to: www.rdos.bc.ca, and on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/RegionalDistrictOfOkanaganSimilkameen/
 
Director, RDOS Emergency Operations Centre