Lakes keep rising in the Okanagan

Okanagan residents are still asked to be mindful of the rising water

The slow, steady rise of local lakes could be accelerated in the next few days as later this week as warm weather causes creeks to swell with snow melt.

Temperatures are expected to swell to highs of 31 C by Monday, and wind, rain, sun – any one of these elements in excess can cause its own unique problems for Central Okanagan properties this spring.

“Strong winds create damaging waves on already overfilled lakes. Too much rain adds to the creek flows and further saturates soggy slopes,” said CORD Emergency officials, in their most recent release.

“Sunny conditions cause rapid snowpack melt, filling creeks and flowing into local lakes.”

This alternating state of weather patterns is expected to last for weeks, and with lakes this full, it will be weeks before they peak and begin to drain. As a result, any wind, rain or sun is going to bring different conditions that residents near creeks and lakes will need to prepare for.

The advice for residents who live near water is to remain vigilant about changing conditions and keep flood protection in place until further notice.

Residents are urged to continue to help neighbours with this work, with sandbag stations welcoming volunteers to help fill and carry sandbags.

Sandbagging stations are stocked and replenished daily at several locations throughout the Central Okanagan. Visit www.cordemergency.ca/map to find sand pile locations and information about vulnerable areas throughout the region.

Beaches remain closed as emergency crews maintain flood protection barriers.

Okanagan Lake rose overnight Wednesday to a new level of 342.98 metres, five centimetres below its highest recorded level of 343 metres in 1948. Tuesday night’s high winds are a good indication of what we could expect and perhaps more, as Okanagan Lake continues rising.

A break in the weather today offers residents a chance to fortify flood protection. With lakes approaching historic volumes, the high water levels are expected to remain well into July. Residents are urged to keep protection in place for the foreseeable future.

A return to warm conditions later this week will speed up the volume of snow melting at the higher elevation watersheds, further boosting creek flows and area lakes to rise.

Boating is not recommended on Central Okanagan lakes as levels are rising and swells in wind create more severe conditions. Any boats still on lifts at docks should be removed.

To check whether a property needs flood protection, go to the Flood FAQs section of www.cordemergency.ca/beprepared, to get directions on how to measure for flood levels and build barriers to the appropriate height to account for both lake level flooding and wave action.

The Red Cross announced a program to help residents in B.C. impacted by the flooding. To be considered eligible for financial assistance, households that were evacuated and whose homes were damaged by flood waters can register for Red Cross assistance online at www.redcross.ca/gethelp or by phone at 1-800-863-6582. Families whose homes were impacted by slope movement or slides due to the rain event are also eligible.