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May inflows into Okanagan Lake set new 96-year record

FILE PHOTO: Water flow in rivers like Mission Creek reached record setting flow rates this spring.
June 07, 2017 - 12:24 PM

KELOWNA – Okanagan Lake rose just 7 mm since Tuesday and Mission Creek has begun to slow, but a series rainy days in the forecast means the threat of more flooding remains high.

Emergency Operations Centre says flood risk has peaked and most rivers, including Mission Creek, have returned to more seasonal flows. Rain, however, could still change that.

“Inflows into Okanagan Lake appear to be declining and the risks for future rises in inflow rates and lake levels will be mainly driven by rainfall," according to a release from the River Forecast Centre.

Much of the Central Interior has been dealing with floods for much of the spring, after an warm, wet spring quickly melted a large and late snowpack.

Okanagan Lake is already 343.248 m above sea level as of Wednesday morning, and June is typically the wettest month of the year for most of the B.C. Interior, according to Environment Canada.

“Environment Canada forecast shows weather continues to be a consideration affecting lake levels,” a release from Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre says. “Rain is expected Thursday with intermittent showers over the weekend. Residents may see lake levels and creek flows increase.”

Inflows into Okanagan Lake in May were also 240 per cent higher than normal, setting a new record.

“Preliminary analysis suggests that these inflows are 10 per cent higher than the previously recorded maximum inflows over these periods observed in the past 96 years.”

With snow basin indices for June 2017 ranging from a low of 7 per cent higher than normal in the Stikine to a high of 228 per cent more snow than normal in the Okanagan, the threat of flood will extend through June.

For information on setting up water barricades, evacuation alerts and orders and information in the Central Okanagan, visit the Emergency Operations Centre website or nearest emergency operations centre.


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