Rain hitting the valley, flood risk increasing

A special weather alert is in effect.

Rain is hitting the valley and it’s causing concerns about what’s to come.

Total rainfall amounts ranging from five to 30 milimetres have fallen since Tuesday night, according to Environment Canada.

Showers will continue this morning over the Okanagan Valley, Similkameen, and Kootenay regions. Additional rainfall amounts up to five mm are possible today. The showers are expected to taper this afternoon.

READ MORE: RISK OF EXTREME FLOODS

Shaun Reimer, who is the section head for public safety and protection in the Okanagan for the forests ministry, says Okanagan Lake is rising by five to six centimetres a day and rain won’t help anyone prepare.

“We’ve very vulnerable to the rain right now,” said Reimer. “If we get a substantial amount of rain… that would be setback for us.”

The plan for flood protection measures on Okanagan Lake is up to an elevation of 343 metres above sea level.

“That’s approximately half a metre higher than our full pool,” said Reimer.

Reimer cautioned the area’s residents not to panic, noting this was the level that flood protection works should be built up to and not a guarantee that the lake would rise that high.

However, he said water was coming into Okanagan Lake even faster than it did in 2017 because of the “historic” heatwave.

—With files from Katya Slepian

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