As the snow melts at higher elevations, it is time to prepare for the possibility of flooding, especially for those living in flood plains and high-risk areas.
While the snow pack in the Okanagan and Boundary has been below normal this winter, and close to normal levels in other parts of the Southern Interior, flooding is still a possibility. And, after the unexpected atmospheric river event in November, 2021, the risk of flooding needs to be taken seriously.
Extensive damages in Princeton, Merritt and parts of the Fraser Valley resulted from the November flooding, and portions of the Coquihalla Highway were destroyed as a result of this weather event. Repair work is still ongoing in these areas.
Other parts of the Southern Interior have also been hit with other flooding events in recent years.
Those in the Okanagan Valley will remember two consecutive years of spring flooding in creeks and at the shore of Okanagan Lake in the recent past, and those in Grand Forks will also recall a flood which devastated parts of that community.
In each of these instances, the costs of repair and restoration work after the flooding have been significant. The clean-up after a flood is an expensive and time-consuming process.
This year, the community of Tulameen, west of Princeton, is at risk of flooding.
The flooding in November has eroded the banks of the Tulameen River and changed the river’s course. Other areas in the Similkameen are also at risk of flooding.
Whether these events are seen as anomalies or as signs of a changing climate, they should serve as reminders that environmental disasters can happen here, in our communities and on our properties.
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is taking measures to help residents prepare for the possibility of flooding by providing sand and sandbags near high-risk locations in the area.
In addition, the province is providing information about flood response on its website.
Environmental disasters have happened in our area in the past and can happen again. Precautions now can help to minimize the effects of a spring flood.
— Black Press
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