05/22/2013 11:39 EDT | Updated 05/19/2014 11:59 EDT

Similkameen River Flood Could Threaten Chilcotin, Interior And Kootenay Areas

VANCOUVER - Homeowners in low lying areas over a wide section of B.C.'s southern and southeastern Interior are being urged to brace for flooding.

The River Forecast Centre has issued high streamflow advisories for the Similkameen River as well as the Chilcotin, central Interior and Kootenay regions, with waterways in all areas expected to rise rapidly.

The warning comes as Environment Canada maintains heavy rain warnings across a large section of the province, and the River Forecast Centre predicts as much as 75-millimetres before the latest storms blow through on Friday.

City officials in Merritt, about 250 kilometres northeast of Vancouver, are warning property owners along the Nicola River to prepare for high water as all that rain washes into already-swollen Nicola Lake.

Brent Watson, with the North Okanagan Emergency Management program, says Shuswap residents should be stockpiling sandbags, especially if they live along the Shuswap and Salmon Rivers east of Kamloops.

He says his crew is applying many of the lessons learned during last year's devastating local floods, but reminds homeowners that they are essentially on their own when high water hits. (CKIZ, CHNL, CFJC)

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