Image: Kathy Michaels/Capital News

Slight dip in lake level not a sign flood threat is abating

Emergency Operations Centre says while Okanagan Lake is down slightly, more water is on the way.

The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre says a slight drop in the level of water in Okanagan Lake level does not mean flooding has peaked.

On Tuesday, the EOC said overall the lake’s level is continuing to trend upwards but from day to day, individual lake measurements may fluctuate up and down.

“A daily decrease in lake levels does not indicate that the flooding event has peaked,” said the EOC in a news release.

On Tuesday morning a measurement of the lake showed the level dipped slightly to 343.240 metres from 343.246 metres recorded on Monday. But, the EOC pointed out, as of Tuesday morning, Mission Creek is flowing at 30 to 35 cubic-metres-per-second. The creek is the biggest contributor of water to the lake.

Rain is also forecast starting Thursday and may persist through the weekend which could see creek flows increase again and the level of the lake rise more. The EOC is predicting the lake will rise to 343.5 metres before it peaks, likely by the middle of June. But it adds, high lake levels are expected to continue for several weeks after that.

With lakes at unprecedented levels, the underground water table has come to the surface in some neighbourhoods. Residents should continue to monitor basements and crawlspaces in low lying areas. Local streets may close suddenly due to ground water seeping to the surface.

On Monday, area residents in impacted or at-risk areas were advised to protect property to the new 343.5 metres predicted high water mark plus an additional 60 centimetre buffer to protect against wave action. For more information about sandbagging, visit www.cordemergency.ca/beprepared/flood-faq.

Currently all other evacuation alerts and orders remain in effect, and residents in those areas should be prepared to leave on short notice if conditions change and there is a threat to public safety. Visit www.cordemergency.ca/map to search by address to determine if an area is under alert or order, or to find the closest sand and sandbag locations.

Residents and visitors are reminded to stay off flood protection measures. Jumping or walking on gabions or water dams is a public safety concern and could damage or undermine the device causing ruptures and significant water flows.

For municipal information such as boat launch, park and beach closures, and water quality advisories, visit individual municipal, regional district of Westbank First Nation websites.