Canadian Armed Forces ‘godsend’ as Princeton prepares for rising river waters | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Canadian Armed Forces ‘godsend’ as Princeton prepares for rising river waters

Members of Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadian) Regiment reinforce a riverbank with sandbags in anticipation of further rainfall, during Operation LENTUS, in Princeton, British Columbia November 25, 2021.
Image Credit: Private Daniel Pereira, 39 CBG Public Affairs, Canadian Armed Forces Photo

Princeton is preparing for rising Tulameen River waters tonight as heavy rainfall in the Coquihalla's watershed is expected to carry over into the community.

“It’s all hands on deck right now,” said Mayor Spencer Coyne, as crews and Canadian Armed Forces members work to establish reinforced sand baskets around the Tulameen River to create a temporary dike.

The Tulameen River already flooded its banks earlier this month, damaging homes and critical infrastructure in the town. The Canadian Armed Forces have been deployed across B.C. to assist with flood mitigation efforts, including in Princeton.

READ MORE: Princeton mayor 'apprehensive' about days ahead during flood recovery efforts

“We have a huge sandbagging effort happening right now as well. We’re trying to get the entire Tulameen River section of town finished by, well as soon as we can,” Coyne said.

The Tulameen watershed comes off the Coquihalla side of the Cascade Mountain Range and the Similkameen River receives water from the Manning Park side so rain in those watersheds is reflected in both rivers, he said.

“Right now, all the modelling has it going towards the Tulameen side… of course we’re still worried about what’s going to happen later in the week because the (weather) system seems to be dragging on,” Coyne said.

Heavy rain warnings are in effect for parts of the Lower Mainland and Coquihalla.

A fire hose is still connecting the town’s water supply across the Tulameen River to residents north of the river. Five of six main water lines across the river were destroyed when it flooded, he said. Drilling of two main water lines under the river is ongoing so residents will be able to have fire protection.

“The work that the Canadian Forces are doing, for lack of better words, it’s a godsend. The amount of work they’ve been able to accomplish, it’s a herculean effort. We’re talking miles of sandbagging by the end of this. None of this would have been possible without them, I am so grateful they showed up,” Coyne said.

The Canadian Armed Forces could not be immediately reached for comment.

In the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, evacuation alerts for homes along the Similkameen River and Tulameen River remain in effect.

One property remains on evacuation order in Electoral Area H, in rural Princeton, due to the danger of flooding along the Similkameen River, according to the regional district’s information release.

Three atmospheric rivers forecast are expected to affect B.C. in the next week from Nov. 25 to Dec. 1. "High winds may accompany these storms on the B.C. Coast and parts of the B.C. Interior,” according to the regional district.

Highway 3 and Highway 99 connecting the Lower Mainland to the Interior will be closed this afternoon, Nov. 27 as a precaution due to the weather events.

READ MORE: Heavy snow, rain expected on Interior highways today


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