Rising water levels, following warm weather and heavy rain, have led to declaration of a local state of emergency by Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd this morning for two properties on Mission Creek.
The river has been rising steadily the past four days and city staff and contractors are now working to build a temporary dike on the south bank to protect properties and city infrastructure.
The B.C. River Forecast Centre issued a flood watch along Mission Creek earlier this morning.
Crews had to remove logs this morning that had become jammed under the Lakeshore Road bridge as a result of the high water, interrupting traffic along Lakeshore Road.
Higher temperatures have led to 24-hour-a-day melting of a record high snowpack at high elevations, particularly in the Mission Creek watershed. Normally by this time of year much of that snow has already melted, but cool temperatures this spring have actually resulted in additional snow accumulating at those high elevations this year instead.
It’s estimated there’s been a daily loss of snow water equal to 20 to 25 millimetres. Heavy rain late Tuesday contributed to additional runoff into Mission Creek.
Water levels are expected to continue rising today, with a peak later today.
Sandbags are available from local fire halls throughout the Central Okanagan for those in imminent dange. At this time, property owners are responsible for providing their own sand to fill the bags.
Residents should be careful near any area creeks and streams and keep safely back from creek banks, which may be slippery or subject to erosion. Boaters on Okanagan Lake should continue to watch for floating debris entering the lake from all area water courses.
If you notice flooding in your area, please contact the Provincial Emergency Program 24-hour Emergency Coordination Centre at 1-800-663-3456.
Information and pamphlets on flood preparedness including a recommended method for sandbag diking are available from the Regional District of Central Okanagan office (1450 KLO Road) and the main City of Kelowna fire hall on Enterprise Way as well as on the Regional District website regionaldistrict.com/emergencyplan. Information about flood precautions is also on the Provincial Emergency Program website: pep.bc.ca/floods/preparedness.html