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Another half-metre added to expected high-water mark on Okanagan Lake

Okanagan Lake levels continue to threaten the current sandbag wall surrounding Green Bay in West Kelowna, Friday, June 2, 2017.
June 05, 2017 - 11:49 AM

KELOWNA - The level of Okanagan Lake continues to rise and the Central Okanagan Regional District is warning peak levels could end up half-a-meter higher than what was originally predicted.

Environment Canada measured the lake at 343.24 on Monday, June 5, an increase of a centimetre over 24 hours.

Although the rise is slower than it has been in recent days, the regional district says it now bases flood protection planning on a lake level of 343.5 metres, up 50 centimetres over initial estimates in early May.

District officials advise lakeside property owners to increase sandbag defences to reflect the higher estimate, and also to ensure makeshift dams include another half-metre of extra height to protect against wave action. About 200,000 sandbags were delivered yesterday and officials say another 500,000 will arrive tomorrow.

Estimates show the snowpack is decreasing at higher elevations, but the district says about 30 per cent of the snow hasn't melted, raising the threat of further flooding, especially when coupled with heavy rains.

About five to 10 mm of rain is expected to fall beginning Thursday and continuing into the weekend. 

"Rain is the wild card," Emergency Operations Centre director Ron Mattiussi Director says. "We're most concerned about rain and the wind, wind is our enemy."

"Nothing about this flooding has been normal," said Mattiussi. "It's been hours of boredom punctuated by fear."

The River Forecast Centre is maintaining a flood watch for the Shuswap and Thompson rivers, but officials in Kamloops expect levels of the North and South Thompson to drop by midweek, while central Okanagan crews say Kalamalka Lake is down half a centimetre since Sunday.

Water surrounds a bench and walkway at Riverside Park, Friday, June 2, 2017.
Water surrounds a bench and walkway at Riverside Park, Friday, June 2, 2017.

Residents in need of sand and sandbags in the Central Okanagan can find locations at All Central Okanagan Evacuation Alerts and Orders remain in place. Visit to search by address to determine if an area is under alert or order.

For Central Okanagan municipal government information such as boat launch, park and beach closures, and water quality advisories, visit their websites:

For South Thompson and Kamloops municpal government information on the North and South Thompson Rivers visit their websites:

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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