Use caution near the Okanagan River

PENTICTON – The public is urged to take extra care near the Okanagan River because of high water levels.

Visitors and residents are reminded that the Okanagan River’s deep and fast-flowing current requires heightened safety awareness during the spring snowmelt.

Adults are urged to keep children and pets under close supervision at all times when near the banks of the river. If going into the river, take precautionary safety measures such as using a safe watercraft and wearing a life jacket.

This year’s snowpack melt is expected to cause higher runoff into Okanagan River from Okanagan Lake for the next several weeks. Flows in Okanagan River between Okanagan Lake and Osoyoos Lake are currently well above normal and are expected to remain high throughout the spring and early summer.

VICTORIA – With the onset of warmer temperatures, increased snow melt in parts of B.C.’s southern interior have amplified waterway risks. Water levels and flow rates are becoming higher and swifter, with river levels expected to continue to increase through the remainder of the week, reaching the highest levels late on Friday or into Saturday. People are urged to take special precaution in low lying areas and along river and creek banks.

The BC River Forecast Centre has issued Streamflow Advisory for the Okanagan, Similkameen, Boundary and Kootenay regions, as well as the Thompson Region.

Residents, recreationalists and visitors to these regions are urged to use extreme caution on or near all waterways. Flood waters can be fast-rising and fast-moving, carry large debris and make shorelines unstable. People are asked to stay away from the water’s edge where increased flood risks have been identified and to provide special care for the safety of children and pets along rivers and creeks that can prove unpredictably dangerous.

People should take the following precautions: •Avoid small creeks and rivers as their channels tend to be narrow and can fill up quickly. •Keep children and pets away from stream banks; eroded banks cause unstable ground. •Watch for changing conditions, particularly in low-lying areas or near waterways. •Check perimeter drains around your property and ensure they are clear of debris.

Emergency Management BC works year-round with local governments to prepare for emergencies. To report severe flooding in your area, contact your local authority. Listings can be found in the blue pages of the phone book.