Ice Jams Prompt Flood Concerns Along Similkameen River Outside Keremeo…

Flood concerns are high in the rural outskirts of Keremeos, B.C., as the Similkameen River is filled with ice.

Ronda Wilkins, owner and operator of River Valley RV Park, says she and other nearby residents want to see more help from the provincial government.

“The province has not comeand done anything to help us fix these berms,” said Wilkins.

“We feel orphaned — orphaned dike, orphaned residents. It’s not like we don’t mind putting in the work; we know we live on the river. We know there are things we have to be aware of but we didn’t put the dikes in, and we told them back in July that those dikes are a concern.”

Ice jams can occur along the river, causing water levels to fluctuate, leading to possible major flooding.

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The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) has issued evacuation alerts for the areas along the Similkameen River.

Officials are monitoring the river as the weather changes.

“With these ice flows breaking up with the warmer weather, one of the concerns, near bridges or thin sections, ice can start bunching up,” said Erick Thompson, an RDOS official.

“That’s where we can get flooding.”

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While RDOS officials say they are keeping a close eye on all waterways in their areas, they say their main area of concern is a stretch of the Similkameen River between Princeton and Chopaka.

The regional district is asking residents to make sure drains and culverts on their similarities are clear of debris.

Residents are also asked to keep a close eye on their local rivers to report any changes with water or ice, and to contact RDOS’ emergency operations centre if changes occur.

Residents are also being reminded to keep away from the icy waterways, as there is extreme danger to life near the river’s edge.

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