B.C.’s Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General is urging caution and encouraging the public to prepare for localized flooding, as water levels are rising in the interior of the province due to increased precipitation, an above average snowpack and increased snowmelt.
An evacuation order has been issued by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen for 148 properties in Tulameen, a town north-west of Princeton — the remainder of the town is under an evacuation alert.
Another evacuation order has been put in place for 47 properties by the Cariboo Regional District, due to an immediate danger from flooding.
Additional areas of the B.C. Central and Southern Interior are also experiencing flooding and slope instability.
Evacuation orders are in place for the Killiney Beach area in the Central Okanagan, and the Sportsman Bowl area north of Oliver.
Emergency operations centres are activated in the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, the Central Okanagan Regional District and in the Cariboo Regional District.
The River Forecast Centre has issued a flood warning for the Nazko River and West Road River, and is maintaining a flood watch for the Central Interior, including the Bonaparte River and tributary rivers around Cache Creek, Merritt, Williams Lake, Quesnel and surrounding areas.
There is also a high streamflow advisory for the South Interior, Boundary, Kootenay and Peace Regions.
The province has given five tips for preparing for potential flooding:
- Steer clear of river and lake shorelines: during periods of high flow river banks may be unstable and more prone to sudden collapse
- Recognize the danger signs: A change in water colour or rapid change in water level (especially a drop) could indicate a problem upstream
- Do not drive through flood water: Also do not try to walk through it, a mere six inches of fast-moving water can knock over an adult, two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles.
- Protect your home: Moving equipment and property from low lying areas, using sandbags and clearing perimeter drains
- Landslide risk: Heavy snowmelt may contribute to landslides and dangerous debris in creeks and waterways