Flood warning issued

Rainfall and warmer temperatures are forecast to result in higher water levels in the coming week, and flooding is likely warn officials.

Okanagan residents can expect more flooding this year, with a combination of warm overnight temperatures causing snow to melt day and night, and rainfall, so people are warned to be prepared.

Jason Brolund, assistant fire chief in Kelowna and Central Okanagan Emergency Program Coordinator said Mission Creek is already up higher than last year, along with McDougall Creek in West Kelowna and Mill Creek in Kelowna. Trepanier Creek in Peachland is also high and so is Whiteman Creek up north Westside Road, he warned.

It’s weeks earlier than last year, but local creeks are full and snow at higher elevations around the valley is forecast to begin to melt with warmer temperatures this weekend.

It is the responsibility of property owners to prepare for flooding, he advised, so if you have seen flooding before near your property, you should take steps now to protect yourself.

Sandbags are available at local firehalls, but sand is the responsibility of the property-owner.

He also warned people to stay away from high flowing creeks, and boaters should be aware there is considerable debris in Okanagan Lake that has washed down creeks.

There are an amazing number of deadheads and logs out in the lake this year already, said Brolund, who said he’s seen aerial photos of the debris.

Snow has continued to accumulate high up in the Mission Creek watershed in the past week, but that is expected to begin to melt in the coming week. There is 20 per cent more snow than normal for that watershed, so when it starts to melt, it’s critical to flood forecasting, how quickly it melts.

Unless it melts gradually, Mission Creek won’t be able to contain all the water.

At the other end, Okanagan Lake is currently 62 centimeters below full pool, but it rose 22 cm in just the past week, reports Brolund.

It’s totally dependent on weather right now, he said.

Temperatures next week are forecast to reach 25 C by Tuesday, with an overnight temperature of 10 C Wednesday, and sunshine is the order of the day from Saturday to next Wednesday, which is as far as the Environment Canada forecast extends at this point.