Flood risk evaporates

The risk of flooding has decreased as a result of ideal weather this spring, although there's still snow melting from high elevations.

Although near-maximum flows were being released from Okanagan and Skaha Lakes up until early this week

Despite an early peak caused by a torrential downpour in April, this year’s runoff from melting snow has slowed and the risk of flooding has diminished considerably.

In fact, Emergency Services Coordinator Jason Brolund figures only an extreme weather event would be likely to cause flooding this year.

Snow at low to middle elevations around the valley has now melted, and only high elevation snow remains to run off, with 400 millimetres at the height of the Mission Creek watershed, for instance.

“The Mission Creek discharge is well within what it’s capable of, and things have improved in the past week, with cooler weather,” he reports.

The runoff peaked this year April 26, much earlier than normal, largely because of a full day of heavy rain which occurred at the same time as snow was melting and running off.

Des Anderson, section head for public safety and protection for the forests, lands and natural resource operations ministry, said inflows are diminishing from Okanagan Lake enough that they cut back on the outflow early this week.

The weather has been ideal for an orderly snow melt this year, with cool nights to slow it down and no major weather systems except for the one in April.

Except for that, it’s been a normal year for lake level management during the snowmelt period, he said.

The remainder of the high elevation snow is expected to melt and run off in the coming weeks.

Okanagan Lake is still 29 centimetres below full pool, and it’s possible the lake may not even reach that level this year, he said.

jsteeves@kelownacapnews.com