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Heat spells high water for Kelowna creeks

Cyclists wind around the water's edge this morning along the Mission Creek Greenway entrance near Lakeshore Drive.
May 06, 2013 - 10:26 AM

With temperatures forecasted up to 30 degrees celsius this week, fresh running water might look tempting - but approach with caution.

Seasonably warm temperatures had over the weekend are expected to continue throughout the week, speeding up spring snow melt on the mountains. Creeks and streams in the Kelowna area, particularly Mission and Mill Creek, could be on the rise along with flood and safety risk. 

"We have seen some of the creeks in the area rise slightly over the weekend," says Bruce Smith of the Regional District for the Central Okanagan.

"Sustained warm temperatures will continue to bring down the snow pack," he says, though no advisories and warnings are in place at this time.

The District is still cautioning people to stay away from creek banks and other water bodies. Children should be kept a safe distance from the water's edge and pet-owners should keep their companions on leash. The increased speed and level of water flow can make the creek banks more slippery, unstable and prone to erosion during the freshet season.

"Pick up in the flows at higher levels can erode the bank and cause undercutting that you don't necessarily see," Smith says.

A sudden thunderstorm or heavy rainfall could also spell trouble. 

"If we have continued warm temperatures with a downpour we could see a rapid rise in the streams," he says.  "Last year there was a big rain event where we had 40 mm of rainfall in 12 hours flooding parts of Mission Creek and Mill Creek."

The District is reminding residents in flood-prone areas to prepare for a sudden surge in creek flow and protect their homes. To learn how to set up sandbag diking and other emergency preparedness techniques you can visit the Regional District of Central Okanagan office on 1450 KLO Road.

Sandbags are available at local fire halls, including the City of Kelowna fire hall on Enterprise Way.

West Kelowna home-owners can pick up sand and sandbags at Casa Loma, Green Bay and Whitworth Drive.

If you notice a potential flooding concern in the Central Okanagan contact the Regional Fire Dispatch at: 250-469-8801.

Handmade berms are all that's keeping McDougall creek from spilling its banks.
Handmade berms are all that's keeping McDougall creek from spilling its banks.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at or call (250)718-0428.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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