The big lakes’ slow descent

No damage from winds overnight thanks to 23 kilometres of sandbags in and around Kelowna

The Central Okanagan’s big lakes—Kalamalka and Okanagan Lake—continue their slow descent from historically high water levels.

Inspections today of all flood protection on the lakes found no damage from strong overnight winds that gusted to 50 kilometres an hour.

Protective measures along the foreshore will be in place for many more weeks due to high water levels and the threat of wave damage caused by windy conditions. Okanagan Lake is still 71 centimetres above its normal lake level for this time of year.

With smaller creeks less of a concern, Wildfire crews are repositioning sandbags today in the upstream portions of Mill Creek. Crews expect to have the sandbags removed along the creek up to Pandosy Street by Monday. Sandbags will eventually be removed from all riparian areas along creeks and lakes.

For now, however, local authorities advise residents to leave sandbags in place, along with any debris that has washed ashore.

A plan is being formulated to coordinate the removal of nearly two million sandbags throughout the Central Okanagan, the equivalent of 23 kilometres of sandbags.

Okanagan Lake has come down 5.6 centimetres since last Sunday, June 11. The lake came down one centimetre since yesterday, to a level of 343.191 metres above sea level. At this rate of decrease, it will be weeks before lakes are low enough to remove protection.

Kalamalka Lake is also down five centimetres in the past week to its current level of 392.367 metres above sea level, which is unchanged from June 17.

If large floating debris becomes a hazard impacting flood protection measures such as gabion basket, bladder dam systems and sandbag walls along the foreshore, notify Emergency Operations officials at 250-469-8490 immediately.

For more information, visit www.cordemergency.ca, sign up for e-updates or call the information line at 250-469-8490.

 

Okanagan Lake on June 16/17. Photo credit Sandy Baldwin

Okanagan Lake on June 16/17. Photo credit Sandy Baldwin