Storm forecast to bring more flooding
It’s all dependent on the weather again.
Water levels in Mission Creek and other area creeks have dropped somewhat, but a storm is forecast to hit the Okanagan late Friday, dumping a significant amount of rain, and if that happens, there will be more flooding.
That’s the word from Jason Brolund, Central Okanagan emergency program coordinator, who warns those who live in an area that could be prone to flooding from high lake or creek levels, to take precautions, because another surge of high water could go through the system Friday night and over the weekend.
He said the warmer weather is welcome, but it means melting snow will be added to the runoff from rain.
Okanagan Lake was eight centimetres above what’s called full pool, or its target level, Wednesday and was still rising.
Brolund said it rose 11 cm above that target level last year, and it will go higher than that level this year. So, even if your property wasn’t impacted by high water last year, it could be this year if you’re near the lake. For up-to-date information and advice on what you can do, go to: www.cordemergency.ca
In addition, he said there are concerns that high winds will accompany the storm and those could affect lakeshore properties as well.
Although Mission Creek’s discharge has dropped, it is expected to go up again as warm weather melts the remainder of the snowpack at high elevations, and as runoff from the forecast rain is funneled down the creek to Okanagan Lake.
Because of high lake levels, there is some sign of backup into creeks such as Mission Creek too, noted Brolund, although the creek level has dropped.
There is a High Streamflow Advisory in place for the Okanagan, including Mission Creek, and Brolund said there is some localized flooding between Kalamalka and Wood Lake.
Work is underway to design a re-routing of Shorts Creek on the Fintry Delta up Westside Road, to prevent flooding of homes on the delta. “We’re grateful to the province for helping us to solve problems and protect people and infrastructure through this,” commented Brolund.
Shorts Creek’s flows will be re-directed into an older channel in order to prevent damage to property in the neighbourhood.
The regional district applied for emergency funding from the province and was successful. Until the work is completed the creek is being monitored by emergency program staff, said spokesman Bruce Smith.
Property owners living around lakes are advised to protect their docks and other waterfront structures from possible damage. Leaving wood debris along the shoreline may help to reduce damage from high water and erosion from wave action.
Boaters are asked to keep their speed and wakes down near the shoreline to prevent damage to private property.
They are also warned to stay alert to floating hazards brought down into lakes by high creek runoff.
If you notice a potential problem or flooding concern, contact regional fire dispatch at: 250-469-8801.
Sandbags are available at local fire halls for property owners facing imminent danger from flooding.
Be cautious if you are walking near creeks or streams and keep children and pets safely back from the banks, because they may be slippery or subject to erosion from high, fast-flowing water, noted Smith.
Be aware that as they react to melting snow and rain high in their watersheds, creeks could rise suddenly, he warned.