Okanagan Lake well above full pool with high winds in forecast | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Okanagan Lake well above full pool with high winds in forecast

FILE PHOTO - Okanagan Lake dropped five centimetres since yesterday, but officials warn residents not to remove barriers as more wind is in the forecast.
June 15, 2017 - 11:47 AM

KELOWNA – Gusty winds of over 60 km/h are expected to further test flood protection measures up and down the Okanagan today.

The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre issued a release yesterday warning of winds of up to 60 km/h, and today, June 15, issued another.

Officials says flood protection defences are expected to be in for another test by Mother Nature today.

The southerly winds forecast by Environment Canada are problematic given Okanagan Lake levels are more than 70 centimetres above full pool and the extreme wave action will pound sandbags, gabion cages and tiger dams set up by residents and local governments across the region, the Operations Centre says.

Officials have put together a map showing areas of the Central Okanagan that could be impacted by waves generated by the strong southerly wind.

Okanagan Lake is now at 343.213 metres above sea level, a five millimetre decrease since yesterday morning, June 14. The Operations Centre says lake levels may fluctuate up and down based on the weather, and ground water may remain high for a period of time.

Residents are advised to leave their flood barriers in place and check on them regularly, repairing and replacing bags as needed.

“While no one should be removing any sandbags or protection measures at this time, plans are being finalized for the demobilization of these flood defences,” the release says. “At no time should any sandbags be emptied into any area creeks or streams or environmentally sensitive areas. Anyone doing so could be subject to fines and prosecution under various environmental statutes.”

Repairs have begun on the Gellatly Walkway, closed since June 1 after being damaged by flooding.

"Repairs must be undertaken now to ensure flooding and wave action do not undermine the adjacent roadway and utility infrastructure," West Kelowna spokesperson Kirsten Jones says in a media release.

The portion of Gellatly Road fronting the walkway will have single lane alternating traffic while repairs are conducted. Construction on the walkway is expected to be complete by the end of June. The public is encouraged to avoid the area during construction.

For more information on the flood, visit the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations 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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