Due to the threat of flooding as a result of ice jams on the Similkameen River, evacuation alerts were issued for two properties in Electoral Area “G” (Rural Keremeos) and three properties in rural Princeton on Wednesday evening, Dec. 29.
Because of the potential danger to life, health, and property damage, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) issued an evacuation alert for properties in Area G: 3455 Highway 3 and 3491 Highway 3.
The evacuation alert issued for Electoral Area “H” (Rural Princeton) is for properties at 1260 Highway 3, 1264 Highway 3 and 1306 Highway.
The potential of rising water levels due to ice jams on the Similkameen River forced the RDOS to closely monitor the situation on Wednesday morning (Dec. 29).
A significant amount of ice has made its way on area rivers, including the Similkameen, causing water levels to potentially rise over minutes or hours.
The RDOS had a helicopter flying above the river on Dec. 29 to assess the moving ice jams.
People are advised to keep a safe distance from waterways and river banks. It’s also been said that anyone who notices ice jamming should leave the area and call 911.
Along with the RDOS, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is also monitoring the situation.
“Ice jams can also release suddenly, sending-fast flowing water and ice downstream,” reads a statement from the RDOS. “An ice jam release can cause water levels to decrease quickly near the ice jam but rise downstream.”
The RDOS’ EOC information officer told the Review on Wednesday that ice jams have not been encountered on area rivers for at least a few years.