After two years of flooding, Okanagan Lake may not reach full pool this year - InfoNews

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After two years of flooding, Okanagan Lake may not reach full pool this year

The outflow into the Okanagan River Channel from Okanagan Lake in Penticton on April 26, 2019. Flood concerns continue to diminish this year as the below normal upper elevation snow packs melt away.
April 27, 2019 - 4:30 PM

PENTICTON - The prospect of high water on Okanagan Lake is diminishing, being replaced by the possibility the lake won’t reach full pool this spring as snow packs continue to melt and normal precipitation patterns continue.

Shaun Reimer from Ministry of Natural Resource Operations says Okanagan Lake has been maintained in an elevation range "suitable for the region’s forecasts and conditions," but under present conditions it might be difficult to fill the lake to the ministry’s normal target level by the end of June.

“Our models show us getting within 10 cm of ‘full pool’ but we may need some near normal rainfall to get there,” he said in an email yesterday, April 25.

Reimer says the lake is currently 66 cm below that target.

“There is a greater than normal chance that tributary streams will be low based on projected snow melt. Rain later in spring would be needed to change that probability,” he said.

Based on current levels, Reimer says there shouldn’t be an issue with flooding or high water levels this year based on snow melt alone.

“There is always the possibility that weather conditions could shift to a wetter cycle. We would need a significant amount of rain for an extended period of time to cause flooding, but that is what happened in 1990, so we can never rule that out,” he said.

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