Princeton prepares for next atmospheric river as Canadian Forces members fill thousands of sandbags

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Canadian Armed Forces members were hard at work on Friday in Princeton, B.C., as the town prepares for more rain and water with more atmospheric rivers forecast for the region.

“The task we have here today in Princeton is to reinforce the dike and make sure the second storm that’s coming doesn’t damage homes and just reinforce some of the local, important infrastructure,” said Lt. Ekam Uppal, a Canadian Armed Forces member.

Just over 60 armed forces members are currently in Princeton, filling thousands of sandbags in the last couple days.

“It’s a phenomenal feeling to be here. It’s really inspiring to see the community come together,” said Uppal.

“This is what the community needs and we are glad and happy to provide any assistance we can.”

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The goal is to build a sandbag wall on top of the dike, adding an extra half a metre to its height.

The mayor said the Canadian Armed Forces presence in town has lifted the spirit of residents as well as himself.

“It’s invaluable to our community; we are so grateful they are here,” said Spencer Coyne, Princeton’s mayor.

“Last night, I brought my son into town and he was hoping to run into (an armed forces member) and thank them. He’s been pretty nervous and the fact that these guys are in town seems to take a load of pressure off him, it just shows how important their presence is in our community right now.”

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An evacuation order is now in place for a small section of town on the Westside of Princeton — only one property is in that area.

The evacuation alert for Electoral Area H remains due to a possible landslide, which could bring even more trouble to the Similkameen community.

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“They don’t want people in that area, because we don’t know what may happen. If we get the rain that is forecasted it may cause a major incident,” said Bob Coyne, Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen’s Area H area director.

A large landslide could possibly block a section of Similkameen, forcing the river to find a new route.

That’s something the regional district is keeping an extremely close eye on.

Click to play video: 'Highway washouts expected to take toll on the Okanagan’s already struggling tourism industry'

Highway washouts expected to take toll on the Okanagan’s already struggling tourism industry

Highway washouts expected to take toll on the Okanagan’s already struggling tourism industry

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