The waters of the Similkameen River have reached the underside of the Red Bridge near Keremeos as flooding ravages Princeton and Tulameen Monday. (Keremeos Fire Department)

The waters of the Similkameen River have reached the underside of the Red Bridge near Keremeos as flooding ravages Princeton and Tulameen Monday. (Keremeos Fire Department)

Keremeos readies as Similkameen River swells

Sand and bags being offered as river rises over 4 metres in span of 20 hours

The high water levels that stormed through the Lower Mainland and into the Interior reached the Similkameen late on Sunday evening, causing flood warnings to be issued across the entire river basin.

Monday morning saw the Similkameen River rising towards its previous high from 2018, with the flow at Hedley already close to a once-in-50-year level and continuing to grow by 7 a.m., according to a flood watch notice from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Sand and bags are available on 1st Avenue off of Highway 3A past the school in Keremeos for residents who need to start preparing for potential flooding.

According to the government’s hydrometric station data, the Similkameen River rose from 1.6 metres to 5.56 metres in the space of 20 hours. By Monday morning, the flow was just shy of 1,000 cubic-metres a second, or roughly enough water flowing to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool every two-and-a-half seconds.

The Village of Keremeos issued a notification to residents warning them to stay away from the Similkameen River’s beds and the banks due to the risk of the high water levels.

The Tulameen River near Princeton reached what was considered once-in-over-100-years, breaking through dykes and flooding the community. At the time of printing, over 290 homes in Princeton were put on evacuation.

READ MORE: Princeton devastated by flood

Properties in Tulameen itself have also been put on evacuation due to the high water levels.

The entire Similkameen River basin is currently under a flood warning according to the provincial government, which means the rivers levels have exceeded river-bank levels or will exceed them imminently, and that flooding of areas adjacent to the rivers affected will follow.

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B.C. Floods 2021