Okanagan Lake about to reach full pool with May rain - InfoNews

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Okanagan Lake about to reach full pool with May rain

Okanagan Lake is expected to exceed full pool in the next few days as a result of higher than usual May precipitation. More rain is forecast for this weekend.
May 28, 2020 - 6:00 PM

Valley lakes are filling up as a result of frequent precipitation in May.

The Central Okanagan Regional District's emergency operations centre issued a statement today, May 28, asking boaters on Kalamalka, Ellison and Okanagan Lakes to reduce wake activity close to shore over the next couple of weeks as water levels reach and exceed full pool.

Kalamalka and Ellison Lakes have already reached full pool.

Shaun Reimer of Ministry of Forests, lands Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, says Okanagan Lake is only a day or so away from reaching full pool.

“It went from a dry April to seeing higher than usual precipitation, which made an impact on my inflows and caused me to ramp up my outflows. We are at designed maximum outflow on Okanagan Lake now,” Reimer said today.

He said the ministry planned for a more moderate outflow this year, which left them with some room.

Reimer said the lake has been rising at the rate of three to four centimetres daily, but has recently dropped off to about two cm daily.

“It looks like we are going to get some rain on the weekend, which is likely to bump up inflows,” he says.

Higher elevations still have about 15 per cent of their snowpack remaining, which could have an impact with a rain on snow event, but there aren’t many high elevation watersheds draining into Okanagan Lake.

Still, the lake is nowhere near the highs of 2017 and 2018. Reimer says on May 28, 2017 the lake was 62 cm higher than it is today, and on May 28, 2018 it was 23 cm higher than it is today.

“There are many years when we exceed the full pool by 10 or 15 cm. We may still get to levels where people in low-lying areas are impacted. We’re always on guard and paying attention to the lake level,” he said.

While several areas in the Thompson-Okanagan have high streamflow advisories and patches of flood watches, flooding this year has so far been minimal.

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