Residents urged to prepare for ‘imminent’ flooding

If all indications are correct, the worst of the flooding is yet to come.   

Forecast rain for Thursday mixed with warm temperatures and the melting snowpack is set to create unprecedented water levels, according to officials.

“Last week’s flooding may prove to be just a dress rehearsal for a much larger event” said Director of the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre, Brian Reardon, at a press conference on Wednesday.

“We are planning for the worst and hoping for the best, citizens should be doing the same.”

Residents living in low lying areas near creeks and lakes are urged to sandbag their property, move personal possessions to higher floors and prepare a grab bag in the event of an evacuation.

Officials say they’re working 24/7 on advance planning and mitigating damage. About 100 wildfire crews have been called in to the Central Okanagan to help with sandbagging efforts and work is being done to raise the dike at Mission Creek between KLO Road and Gordon Drive.

The extent of the flooding will depend on how much rain falls down as creeks and lakes in the area are already at full capacity or near full capacity.

“Our cup is full, the bucket’s full, there’s really nowhere more for the rain to go expect up over creek banks and up onto people’s properties along our lakes” said Todd Cashin with the City of Kelowna.

Water levels are expected to peak 12 to 16 hours after rainfall, which could be as early as late Thursday evening or early Friday.

“If you haven’t started preparing, now is the time to prepare” said Reardon.

Firefighters demonstrate the proper way to sandbag.

Where to get sandbags and sand

In Kelowna, sandbags are available at City of Kelowna Fire Station #1 at 2255 Enterprise Way. Sand is available at:

  • Cook Road Boat Launch outside the Hotel Eldorado on Cook Road,
  • Burne Avenue, west of Ethel Street at Mill Creek
  • Rowcliffe Avenue at Richter Street
  • 221 Adams Road (Industrial Park)

In West Kelowna, sandbags and sand is available at:

  • 1341 Green Bay Road
  • 2606 Casa Loma
  • Pritchard Park at 1587 Pritchard Drive
  • 4081 Hitchner Road
  • Pebbles Beach Park at 2589 Whitworth Road

In Lake Country, sandbags are available at Swalwell Park and at Lake Country Okanagan Centre Fire Hall (10591 Okanagan Centre Road East). Sand is available at:

  • Swalwell Park at 9950 Bottom Wood Lake Road
  • Commonwealth Road by Holiday Park
  • Deldor Road

If you’re not sure how to properly sandbag your property, officials have released step-by-step instructions here.