Dramatic video of wind whipping up Okanagan Lake

Winds challenge flood protection measures

Flood protection measures should be left in place and checked on daily

Flood protection defences across the Central Okanagan are expected to be in for another test by Mother Nature today. Southerly winds gusting to 60 km/hr are forecasted by Environment Canada.

Gusty winds and lake levels that are more than 70 centimetres above full pool have caused extreme wave action pounding sandbags, gabion cages and tiger dams set up by residents and local governments across the region.

Everyone should leave flood protection in place and check on them daily. As needed, repair and replace them to ensure adequate protection from wave generated erosion and flooding.

A southerly winds advisory map indicates areas of the Central Okanagan that could potentially be impacted by southerly-wind-generated wave action.

While no one should be removing any sandbags or protection measures at this time, plans are being finalized for the demobilization of these flood defences. At no time should any sandbags be emptied into any area creeks or streams or environmentally sensitive areas. Anyone doing so could be subject to fines and prosecution under various environmental statutes.

This morning Environment and Climate Change Canada reported Okanagan Lake at 343.213 metres above sea level, a 5 millimetre decrease over the 343.218 m level measured yesterday morning.

The level of Kalamalka Lake this morning was recorded at 392.306 m, down from the 392.408 m mark yesterday morning.

Residents are reminded that lake levels may fluctuate up and down based on the weather and ground water may remain high for a period of time.

The Gellatly Road bridge over Powers Creek has reopened to single lane alternating traffic.

Those residents and businesses that have been impacted by flooding, may qualify for financial support. Applications to the Provincial Disaster Financial Assistance program must be submitted to Emergency Management BC by Aug. 5. Information is available online.

In addition, the Red Cross has a financial assistance program to help eligible BC residents whose households were evacuated and damaged by flood waters. Register online or by call 1-800-863-6582.

For more information, visit Central Okanagan Emergency Service website, sign up for e-updates or call the information line at 250-469-8490.