February 20, 2022

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen to monitor local rivers for ice jams – Okanagan | Globalnews.ca

With B.C.’s Southern Interior firmly in winter’s cold grasp, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen says it will be monitoring local rivers for potential ice jams.

Ice jams are regular occurrences on rivers where cold temperatures occur for extended periods of time.

And during an ice jam, water levels can fluctuate, which led to the regional district issuing Wednesday’s public service announcement.

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“During an ice jam, water levels can rise over minutes or hours,” said the RDOS, noting that the Similkameen River is being monitored by both itself and the Ministry of Forests.

“Ice jams can also release suddenly, sending fast-flowing water and ice downstream. An ice jam release can cause water levels to decrease quickly near the ice jam, but rise downstream.”

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Temperatures are expected to remain in the negative double digits until the weekend, with January’s forecast showing no reprieve from below-zero numbers for the first three weeks.

The RDOS also issued reminders about keeping away from waterways during winter, especially if ice jams are present.

  • Water levels can fluctuate quickly and erosion can cause river banks to become unstable
  • If you notice ice jamming, and you or your property may be threatened, leave the area if it is safe to do so and call 911
  • Follow weather advisories from the River Forecast Centre
  • Have a plan and educate others, including neighbours
  • Have access to a sump pump
  • Know the risks associated with living in a floodplain
  • Have an emergency kit and grab-and-go bag available and easily accessible

For more information about emergency preparedness, visit the regional district’s website.

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