Residents of the Redwing Resort volunteered to fill sandbags to help protect homes in their low-lying neighbourhood, including Tom Fish (left), Francis Mugridge (right) and Margie McPhee (yellow shirt in back). Steve Kidd/Western News

Okanagan Lake now predicted to peak in mid June

Authorities prepare for more bad weather

The Okanagan Valley has a long way to go before we can say we’re safe and dry.

According to the latest release from Central Okanagan Emergency Operations, it could be weeks before lake levels finally peak.

On Thursday, Environment Canada reported Okanagan Lake reached 343.17 metres, a two-centimetre rise over the May 31 measurement. The lake is now predicted to peak in mid-June, possibly as high as 343. 25 metres. By comparison, the 1948 flood peaked at about 343 metres.

Snow remaining at high elevations is a concern for officials like Dale Kronebusch, emergency services supervisor for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen. White peaks on Apex and other mountains mean there is still snow waiting to melt and be carried into the creeks, rivers and lakes.

The current weather forecast for rain and storms doesn’t ease the situation, with the rain now helping the snow to melt faster, Kronebusch said.

Weather warnings for the Okanagan Valley forecast severe thunderstorms capable of producing heavy rain.

“Isolated thunderstorms that are capable of producing 15+ mm of rain over a relatively short period of time are possible today,” reads the Environment Canada alert. “Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads”

Penticton weathered a thunderstorm and winds earlier this week, but city officials are continuing to plan for more bad weather.

“The city survived the storm last night. We are still conducting inspections but initial reports are good,” said Penticton CAO Peter Weeber on Tuesday. “Our focus is to continue to repair and enhance protection measures around the city in anticipation of a series of weather events over the coming weeks.”

Weeber said the sandbagging has been tested at the current water level and held, but rising water levels are still a concern, as is the ongoing rain and wind in the South Okanagan.

The flood protection around the Penticton Yacht Club marina is maxed out, according to Weeber.

Weeber said the marina club house had about two inches of flooding, but the marina overall is in good shape after damage to the breakwater from last week’s windstorm was repaired.

“Ground water has caused us some grief in the lakeside pump station but it is manageable,” said Weeber.

Kronebusch also said protection measures seem to be holding up in communities around the regional district.

“We are starting to look at concentrating around Osoyoos Lake, assisting with the Osoyoos Indian Band and the town of Osoyoos,” said Kronebusch. “The river is starting to flow the other way now.”

Kronebusch explained that water is crossing into the United States and building up against the dam.

“There are large volumes of water coming that way, so it is starting to flow back into Osoyoos Lake. That is where our concern is right now,” said Kronebusch.

Tuesday evening, Summerland declared a State of Local Emergency for the Trout Creek area, concerned over the effect of rising ground water on Summerland’s electrical system.

“In some isolated areas, water has now reached elevations high enough to submerge the electrical connections in underground vaults and junction boxes,” reads the announcement. “Although the electrical cabling is rated to be submerged in water, the connections are not.”

More: State of Local Emergency declared in Summerland

The risk is water in contact with the connections could become electrified and carry the charge to the surface, creating a public safety risk. Power was turned off to a series of properties on Johnson Street, Dale Avenue, and Lighthouse Landing.

Some Trout Creek residents are reporting that Okanagan Lake is coming closer and closer to their homes.

More: Water less than a metre from Summerland home

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central Okanagan residents invited to give input on regional transport plan

The plan will help Central Okanagan governments work together to connect people and places across the region

Okanagan set for thunderstorms before sunny weekend

Thunderstorms are predicted to give way to a hot, sunny weekend around Kelowna

Body of 21-year-old man found in Okanagan Lake

BC Coroners Service is investigting the circumstances of the man’s death

UBC Okanagan caps digital fees per course amid COVID-19

The UBCO student senate capped fees at $65 per class for the first winter term in 2020

Kelowna RCMP discover more imitation firearms used in crimes

RCMP say the fake guns can be hard to distinguish from the real ones

Airlines dispute Dr. Henry’s claim they ‘very rarely’ give accurate COVID contact tracing info

Air Canada, WestJet say they provide names and contact information

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen pays nearly $8 million in wages

Figures included in latest Statement of Financial Information

Democracy costs Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen more than $500,000

Remuneration and expenses paid to chair, directors and alternate directors comes to $542,588

Workplace design: Are you grown up enough to work from home?

Columnist Jules Galloway is the founder/owner of Evolve Design| Build

Dyer: Replacing dam and solar power

Research indicates Canada could replace 100% of power from dams with solar, using only 13% of the land

Airborne hot dog strikes Greater Victoria pedestrian

Police called to 4200-block of Quadra Street for hot dog incident

Kootnekoff: CEWS expanded and extended

Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, her diverse legal career spans over 20 years

B.C. scientist, 63, protests in trees set to be removed for Trans Mountain pipeline

Tim Takaro is reaching new heights as he tries to stall the pipeline expansion project in New Westminster

Police investigate North Okanagan truck fire

‘At this time, investigators are treating the fire as suspicious,’ says Cpl. Tania Finn

Most Read