Update: May 21, 6 p.m.
The evacuation order issued by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) last night due to flooding has been removed for properties south of Oliver along Tinhorn Creek. All residents may return to their properties in the area but remain under a precautionary evacuation alert for the time being until creek levels subside.
In total 10 people were evacuated last night with eight requiring temporary accommodation.
A precautionary evacuation alert remains in effect for 15 properties near Tinhorn Creek affecting 16 buildings. The properties under an advisory evacuation alert are 5046 Highway 97, 450 Road 8, 152, 212, 238, 242, 250, 278, 280, 292, 298, 306, 321, 339, 350 and 385 Road 9.
Additional precautionary evacuation alerts are in effect for properties along Testalinden Creek, south of Oliver and Twin Lakes, west of Kaleden. An interactive map has been set up showing the present areas within the RDOS under precautionary evacuation alerts due to flooding. No areas within the RDOS are presently under mandatory evacuation orders.
The RDOS is asking residents to watch local creeks for debris. If residents see a creek moving larger branches, trees or boulders they should contact the Provincial Emergency hotline at 1-800-663-3456. If there is an immediate risk to lives or property then residents should phone 911.
Residents under a precautionary evacuation alert will be given as much advance notice as possible prior to evacuation; however, residents may receive limited notice due to changing conditions.
Upon notification of an evacuation alert, residents should prepare for immediate evacuation by:
— Locating all family members or co-workers and proceeding to the designated reception centre outside the evacuation area, should an evacuation be called while separated;
— Gathering essential items such as medications, eyeglasses, valuable papers (i.e. insurance), immediate care needs for dependents and, if chosen, keepsakes (photographs, etc.). Have these items readily available for quick departure;
— Preparing to move any disabled persons and/or children;
— Moving pets and livestock to a safe area;
— Arranging to transport household members or co-workers in the event of an evacuation order. Affected residents needing transportation assistance from the area can call 250-490-4225;
— Arranging accommodation for family members if possible.
— Monitoring news sources for information on evacuation orders and the location of the reception centre.
The Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen is warning that creeks in the South Okanagan continue to be dangerous.
Homes and agricultural areas can be damaged and people, pets and livestock can be put at risk as warmer weather rapidly melts this year’s high snowpack and water flushing from the hills raises the potential of debris floods in local creeks, which can block culverts and divert water.
Dale Kronebusch, RDOS Emergency Service Supervisor, says after several weeks of heavy rains, creeks are already at seasonally high levels. Banks of creeks are saturated making them easier to wash out. Warmer temperatures are now releasing water from upland snow packs.
“We’ve seen Tinhorn and Testalinden Creeks, in the Oliver area, release debris floods in the past few weeks,” warns Kronebusch. “We could see more in this area as the 2015 forest fires weakened tree roots that hold up creek banks. We are asking for the public’s help to identify debris in creeks so we can quickly remove it before it becomes a flooding issue.”
If residents see the creek moving larger branches, trees or boulders they should contact the Provincial Emergency hotline at 1-800-663-3456. If there is an immediate risk to lives or property then residents should phone 911.
According to Environment Canada, the situation is expected to continue.
A ridge is building over the Southern Interior and will remain in place Monday and Tuesday, leading to unseasonably warm weather. This warm spell will accelerate snowmelt and lead to rising rivers, possibly causing concerns related to flooding.
This will be followed by a cool-down accompanied by strong winds Tuesday night and Wednesday as a cold front quickly moves across the province and sweeps southeastward across the central Interior during the day Tuesday, likely reaching the south Tuesday night. There is also a risk of thunderstorms.
Strong winds combined with high water levels could result in increased wave action that may impact shorelines and lakeside roads. The saturated ground also increases the chances of downed trees in strong winds.