Dramatic wave show on Okanagan Lake

Video footage of wind storm on Okanagan Lake

A brimming lake and high winds seems to have caused more damage overnight.

Capital News reader Dirk Handke caught some of the storm on camera last night and sent it in.

From Rotary Beach, to the Hotel Eldorado to Gyro and Kinsmen beaches you can see waves surmounting sandbags and knocking back docks.

Conditions are already not idealThe Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre, in consultation with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations recommends that residents prepare for an Okanagan Lake level of 343.5 metres by mid June. Residents should also ensure protective measures include an additional buffer for wave action.

The ministry states, “With the‎ ever decreasing snowpack at higher elevations, the rate of rise on Okanagan Lake is slowing down. However, the lake level continues to exceed historic highs, and levels could increase more sharply with a significant rain event. For that reason and for planning purposes, local governments and private property owners should work to protect their properties to a lake level rise of up to 343.5 metres.”

As of Sunday morning, June 4, the level of Okanagan Lake was 343.23m, one centimetre above Saturday morning’s level (as measured by Environment and Climate Change Canada). Kalamalka Lake rose .2 centimetres to 392.455 metres in the same timeframe.

This new planning level takes into account that 50 per cent of the upper level snowpack has yet to melt.

The Emergency Operations Centre will be using the 343.5m level as a planning number for analyzing flood protection measures, assessing potentially vulnerable areas and making adjustments as needed.

Residents should ensure their flood protection measures can withstand the new predicted Okanagan Lake level, with an additional 60 cm buffer for wave action – up to 344.1 metres.

On Sunday, June 4, an additional 200,000 sandbags were brought into replenish supplies. Sandbags may be in tight supply until Tuesday, June 6 when an additional 500,000 will arrive. The slower day to day rise of the lake provides enough time for additional sandbag supplies to arrive. Residents’ patience is appreciated. Residents in need of sand and sandbags can find locations at www.cordemergency.ca/map.

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