The Similkameen River has been rising behind Deblyn Mobile Home Park for several days. Residents there told The Spotlight Wednesday afternoon they are not concerned and have seen higher levels in recent years. Photo credit: Andrea DeMeer

Town of Princeton declares level one state of emergency

Officials say order is a precautionary measure

The Town of Princeton has declared a level one state of emergency in anticipation of increased river levels in the coming days.

The order states “residents are likely to be impacted by the flood waters and the threat of life and safety, and property damage exists.”

Town officials, however, are saying the state of emergency is just a precautionary measure and are encouraging residents to remain calm.

CAO Cheryl Martens said the order is in response to a flood warning issued Tuesday night by the regional district.

That release stated: “The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) together with the Town of Princeton, Upper Similkameen Indian Band, Village of Keremeos and Lower Similkameen Indian Band, are warning properties owners along the Similkameen River that due to the expected increased flow over the next few days access to properties (roads and/or highways) may be compromised or become impassable.”

Area H was ordered to a state of emergency on April 29.

Related: Princeton area prepares for what may be torrential flood waters

Princeton information officer Lyle Thomas stressed there is no immediate danger here, but added that water flows in other areas are being taken into account to predict what might happen along the Similkameen.

“Over the years the Town of Princeton has been diligent in maintaining the dikes and increasing the dikes and we are in a pretty good position in terms of fortification,” said Thomas.

He declined to comment on what specific streets and neighborhoods in Princeton are most vulnerable to floods, as at this point it may cause undue stress to residents.

“Anything near the river or dike is susceptible and definitely the lower areas are most susceptible.”

The level one order “puts us on readiness. We will start monitoring the situation a bit closer and we will make sure we have staff on call.”

The Tulameen River reached the six foot mark at the Brown Bridge Wednesday morning.

“Now it’s down around to just over five, so that’s one key area that we do monitor, for sure, to kind of get a sense of what the river is doing,” said Thomas.

Normal flows for this time of year are between four and five feet and the river normally peaks between 10 and 11 p.m.

The RDOS release said: “BC River Forecast Centre, Environment Canada and the Emergency Management BC are predicting increasing water flows over the next several days with potential of high flows of the Similkameen River and nearby creeks for the next 10 days due to spring snow melt. All agencies are actively assessing the situations and should conditions deteriorate, each local government will put Evacuation Alerts in place for their affected residents.”

No evacuation alerts for Princeton were issued as of Wednesday at 5 p.m.

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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