South Okanagan residents put on flood alert as snowpack reaches higher - InfoNews

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South Okanagan residents put on flood alert as snowpack reaches higher

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is warning residents of flooding.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/RDOS
February 15, 2020 - 1:00 PM

South Okanagan property owners to be aware of the possibility of localized flooding due to freshet in the coming months.

As of Feb. 1, the snowpack across the South Okanagan was 129 per cent of average values for this time of year, according to the Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen.

As a result, there remains a risk of flooding when rain falls.

Residents living in areas impacted by flooding in recent years should plan ahead for the worst-case scenarios while the RDOS and provincial staff will continue to monitor snow conditions and lake levels.

The province is doing their part and have staff have initiated higher flows out of Okanagan Lake. This is being done to lower the lake level in advance of the spring snowmelt period and to reduce potential flood risks. Snowpack levels are only one indicator of spring freshet flood risks.

In B.C., property owners are responsible for taking the necessary steps on their property to protect their home and property from flooding, while government emergency programs focus on broader flood response measures.

The RDOS will provide sand and sandbags for property owners as needed, in addition to information about sandbag placement. Flooding on private property will typically occur as a result of high streamflow, pooling or slow rising water from a body of water.

The following should be considered for protecting your property from flooding:

  • Assess - Determine potential sources of flooding that may impact your property.
  • Act early - Preparing flood protection takes time and requires manual labour.
  • Focus your efforts – Work on the most effective methods to protect your property for the type of flood risk; to protect the most important areas such as your home or areas where the greatest damage may occur.
  • Be Safe – Avoid working alone around flowing water, use proper safety equipment and techniques to avoid injury.
  • Get Help – Sandbagging is labour intensive and physically demanding work.
  • Communicate - Work with your neighbours; coordinating work with adjacent properties may provide more effective flood defences.
  • Invest – Properties with routine flooding may wish to invest in improved flood defences that can be quickly deployed and are less labour intensive to put in place than sandbags.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels 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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