FLOOD WATCH 2017: Flood threat switches from creeks to lake in Central Okanagan - InfoNews.ca

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FLOOD WATCH 2017: Flood threat switches from creeks to lake in Central Okanagan

Pritchard Park in West Kelowna has been identified as being at risk of more flooding. The Central Okanagan Regional District have ordered plastic barricades stacked and filled with water.
May 16, 2017 - 4:30 PM

KELOWNA – Firefighters and volunteers are working hard again today, May 16, filling sand bags and building walls at beaches and private properties across Kelowna as lake levels continue to rise.

The predicted thundershowers may not have come to pass last weekend, but creeks and streams are only one of the threats that prompted mayor Colin Basran to release a public service video announcement.

In it he describes the combination of rapidly-melting snowpack and prolonged heavy rain as creating conditions ripe for a flood “like Kelowna has never seen before.”

The rain never came but that doesn’t mean the threat is gone. Since the video and news of the “one in 200 year storm” went public, Okanagan Lake has continued to rise.

Since Monday the lake has risen more than 2.5 cm to 342.7 m above sea level, according to the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations. If it reaches 343.6 metres, extensive flooding is likely.

Vernon firefighters brought to Kelowna to help prepare for more flooding. The crew was shoring up the beach at Lake Avenue today, May 16.
Vernon firefighters brought to Kelowna to help prepare for more flooding. The crew was shoring up the beach at Lake Avenue today, May 16.

According to Environment Canada, Okanagan Lake was fuller than it is today in 1946, 1948, 1951, 1972, 1990 and 1997 but Mayor Basran maintains the hype was warranted.

“Experts in this field were predicting, given what happened the previous weekend, with the weather patterns heading our way, with the temperatures we were expecting to reach, we were looking at unprecedented flood potential,” he says. “Based on the technical data. I felt that I needed to warn our residents.”

The creeks may now be less of a problem, but conditions are much the same as they were when he released the video.

“This is still a volatile situation,” he says. “Creek levels have settled down but our next concern is Okanagan Lake. I would rather have residents be over prepared than under prepared.”

For tips on flood-proofing your home, business or property, check out FLOOD WATCH 2017: What you need to know in the Central Okanagan.

Square baskets filled with sand are set up at Lake Avenue Beach Access today, May 16, 2017.
Square baskets filled with sand are set up at Lake Avenue Beach Access today, May 16, 2017.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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