Lenz Road in West Kelowna was closed due to downed power lines. - Image: Dave Ogilvie

Wind causing havoc; prompts severe wave warning

Officials say a storm surge phenomenon in addition to wave action poses a serious threat to property

High winds are already causing problems in the Kelowna area with reports of power lines down and a warning from the regional district.

High winds forecasted overnight have prompted a severe wave action warning for all property owners on Central Okanagan lakes.

Already winds are causing problems in the area with reports of power lines down on Lenz Rd. in West Kelowna which was closed except for residents as of 9 p.m. Tuesday.

EXTRA: Preparing for the next wave of flooding

Meanwhile, officials say there is potential for a storm surge phenomenon, created by high winds pushing a high volume of water in one direction, in addition to wave action on top of the surge, pose a serious threat to property and erosion of shoreline for unprotected areas.

With wind gusts of up to 70 kilometres per hour possible tonight, it’s too late to begin sandbagging efforts. Property owners should take personal safety precautions if flood protection measures are compromised.

Emergency crews are out inspecting and assessing flood protection measures and infrastructure to determine the top priorities for further action.

With the rising waters and windy conditions on Central Okanagan lakes the possibility of localized evacuations in the region is possible. Residents would only be ordered to evacuate if there is a threat of imminent danger.

A risk of falling trees within saturated ground conditions near lakes and creeks is high. The risk can be increased by high winds expected this evening.

Warmer temperatures later in the 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 rising levels are moving faster and swells in wind creating more severe conditions. Boats still on lifts at docks should be removed before the peak winds hit overnight.

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.

Sandbagging stations are stocked and replenished daily at several locations throughout the Central Okanagan. Volunteers are still welcome at sand piles to help with filling and loading sandbags. Visit www.cordemergency.ca/map to find the location closest to you.