Here comes the rain to add to flooding concerns - InfoNews

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Here comes the rain to add to flooding concerns

May 08, 2018 - 12:30 PM

Sunny and warm weather is about to give way to rain and and with it comes a higher risk of flooding throughout the Thompson-Okanagan. 

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement today, warning that conditions are ripe for flooding. Warm weather in the last few days has produced rapid snow melt, causing water levels to rise across the Interior and localized flooding.

But that's due to change quickly. A new system in the next few days will likely bring rainfall to the Southwest Interior and eventually to the Thompson-Okanagan where 15 to 25 mm of rain are forecast.

Most regional districts in the Interior are battling back flood waters but so far they're localized, not like last year's widespread flooding. 

The City of Kelowna has expanded a state of emergency to cover the entire city. While that's largely a precautionary move, emergency officials are closely watching Mission Creek, the single largest source for Okanagan Lake.

Fed from higher elevation snow packs, Mission Creek is rising rapidly, emergency operations centre representative Karen Miller said.

"Our flood preparations are in place and the snow melt is going well," she said. "What we can't predict is the rain. It depends on what materializes."

Miller said the focus of flood concerns in Kelowna has shifted from Mill Creek to MIssion Creek as lower elevation snow has largely melted off.

Lake flooding is not yet a concern, MIller added, as the lake is about 66 centimetres from full pool. "Over the last two days, it's been coming up about six centimetres a day."

“Quickly flowing water and the adjacent riverbanks are potentially unsafe,” the release warns. “Don't approach washouts near rivers, creeks, and culverts.”

Rain will taper off this week but showers and occasional thunderstorms will linger.

Updated streamflow advisories and warnings are available at the River Forecast Centre website.

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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