Rainy weather and snow melt stirring up trouble in the Valley | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Rainy weather and snow melt stirring up trouble in the Valley

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If you're living at a low elevation in the Okanagan Valley, have supplies ready to combat flooding. While freshet activity appears normal this year, the right weather conditions can bring on a sudden rise in the flow of local rivers and creeks.

“Weather is the variable,” Regional District for the Central Okanagan spokesperson, Bruce Smith says. Snow melt speeds up with heavy or sustained rain, and mild temperatures during the day, especially when followed by warm temperatures overnight.

“Creeks can rise rapidly, on short notice, that's why we urge property owners to start making their plans,” he says.

Smith says it's up to residents to make sure they're prepared.

“Property owners near creeks and streams are responsible for protecting their properties and should be monitoring conditions, and making plans to ensure their safety.”

Smith says last year there were several flooding issues. In one case sandbags were used to contain the flow of Mission Creek near Lakeshore Road. There was also a local state of emergency called when Mission Creek, near Highway 33, rose high enough it nearly engulfed a large trailer in the area. 

So far this year, a number of water advisories have been issued for certain districts, including the communities of Star Place and Falcon Ridge. Just recently the thawing of frozen earth along the Myra Canyon trail damaged a number of trestles along the Kettle Valley Railway.

But according to the April 1 snowpack assessment, released Monday, things are looking pretty normal. Dave Campbell of the BC River Forecast Centre says the Okanagan-Kettle Valley region is sitting at a 107% index, which is down from last month's assessment of 115%. Campbell says though slightly above normal, there's no cause for concern. 

There are a number of suggestions for residents in trouble areas for flooding: 

  • prepare an emergency kit
  • stock up on sand bags, available at all local fire halls
  • have a shovel on hand and sand to fill the bags
  • check sub-pumps in your basement and crawl spaces
  • consider moving value items out your crawl space or basement to keep them safe

To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at jwhittet@infotelnews.ca or call (250)718-0428.


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