Kelowna residents, especially waterfront property owners and those near creeks and streams, are reminded to have their annual flood plans in place.
“Freshet is the annual snowpack melt that typically occurs from April to July in our province,” said Kevin Van Vliet, utility services manager, City of Kelowna. “There is usually a small amount of flooding annually in several areas around Kelowna. If winter snowpacks melt too rapidly, and when there is heavy rain on melting snow, there is potential for high creek flows.”
Van Vliet reminds property owners that they are responsible for having a plan as well as the tools and equipment necessary to protect from possible flood damage.
The city recently completed the first phase of the Mill Creek flood protection project to improve the creek corridor and reduce the flooding potential, from the Kelowna International Airport to Okanagan Lake.
As water levels in area creeks may rise quickly during spring runoff, the city also reminds residents to stay safely back from creek banks.
The city offers the following preparedness tips and information:
- Ensure you have a flood plan and are aware of the necessary steps to protect your particular property.
- Know where your power and water shut off is in your house and ensure your family’s important documents and identification are located on an upper floor and sealed in a plastic bag.
- Prepare a 72-hour kit for your family that includes food, water, a first-aid kit, identification, and medications. A full kit list is available on the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations website.
- Have an evacuation plan, including arrangements for your pets.
- Call the City of Kelowna Public Works Yard at 250-469-8600 if you notice a potential problem or have a flooding concern. Only call 911 in case of emergency.
Courtesy sandbags are available year-round at Firehall Station No. 1 (2255 Enterprise Way) for those in flood-prone areas.