Okanagan Lake a growing threat

Lake levels reaching unprecedented levels and flooding remains a major concern

Okanagan Lake continues to flow towards unprecedented levels.

On Tuesday, Okanagan Lake had risen four centimetres since Monday morning to 342.91 metres, surpassing the 1990 flood level of 342.87 metres. That’s just nine centimetres below the year’s projected flood level of 343 metres.

“You just seem to be in this position of wait and see,” said Michele Blais, among those trying to keep the tide from engulfing cabins along Westside Road.

“We have done lots to prepare with sandbagging, moving furniture out and building walls around the cottage but it feels like someone else is very much in control.”

Evacuation alerts remain in place for lots one to six at William Marchand Beach on the Okanagan Indian Reserve.

There is also an evacuation alert for residents in units one to 20 on Willow Shore Road, units 33 to 43 on Alexis beachfront property and from Bobby Marchand to Sandra Saddleman beachfront property.

“The Okanagan Indian Band has been fantastic. They have kept a steady supply of sand and bags, people assisting with bagging plus many of the landlords have been trying to protect from the swelling rivers by building berms,” said Blais.

A potential shift in weather may lead to wind-driven wave action and that could test waterfront flood protection measures.

“Waterfront property owners who haven’t taken measures to protect their structures and properties from flooding should do so,” states Central Okanagan Emergency Operations.

“During surveillance flights and a detailed Okanagan Lake shoreline survey by the Emergency Operations Centre, officials noted that many lakefront properties at risk of flooding have not adequately protected the shoreline to 343.6 metres, which is the projected high lake level of 343 metres plus a buffer for wave action. “

Away from the lakes, flooding also remains an issue in Lumby as creek levels remain high.

And officials are watching the weather forecast, which could transition from heat to rain and storms.

“There could be more flooding. We’re taking a real hit this year,” said Tom Kadla, the village’s chief administrative officer.

A two-week-old evacuation order remains in place for Faulkner Avenue, but the village is reviewing its next steps with provincial authorities.

“We want to get people back into their homes as soon as possible,” said Kadla.

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