Prepare now for spring freshet before flooding occurs

News Article
Annual snowmelt has begun throughout the region. When the temperature rises above freezing and remains warm for a few days, freshet or spring melt begins. Above-average snowpacks in areas across the region can lead to above-average spring runoff in the coming weeks. Rapidly melting snowpacks can overwhelm stream channels and cause localized flooding. Spring freshet can also destabilize soil and rocks, causing unpredictable mudslides, landslides and rockslides.

Now is the time to assess your property and buildings for potential drainage issues. Taking proactive measures before freshet begins can help prevent or minimize damage. 

Emergency preparedness
also includes establishing plans to ensure your family and pet’s needs are considered, before an unexpected event occurs. Pre-planning will help your family cope with the stress of dealing with an Evacuation Alert of Order.

In British Columbia, property owners are responsible for taking the necessary steps on their property to protect their home and property from flooding, while government emergency programs focus on broader flood response measures. The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) will provide sand and sandbags for property owners as needed, in addition to information about sandbag placement.

Sandbag Centres 
  • Sandbag Centres are opening throughout the Regional District to help you protect your property from localized flooding caused by freshet 
  • Information for COVID-19 procedures can be found at each sandbag centre and on the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) website:
  • Report flooding or depleted sand or sandbags to the EOC: 250-490-4225

Helpful links

Issued by Director of RDOS EOC 


Emergency Operations Centre

Erick Thompson

Andrea Rendall

RDOS Communications

RDOS Communications



Definitions you should know

Evacuation stages

• Evacuation Order: You are at risk. Leave the area immediately. RCMP enforce Evacuation Orders.
• Evacuation Alert: Be ready to leave on short notice. If you leave before or during this alert, it’s called a voluntary evacuation.
• Evacuation Rescind: All is currently safe and you can return home. Watch for other possible Evacuation Alerts or Orders.

Flooding terms

• Flood Warning: River levels have exceeded bankfull or will exceed bankfull imminently, and flooding of areas adjacent to affected rivers will result.
• Flood Watch: River levels are rising and will approach or may exceed bankfull. Flooding of areas adjacent to affected rivers may occur.
• High Streamflow Advisory: River levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly, but no major flooding is expected. Minor flooding in low-lying areas is possible.