Lake Levels Rising

To sandbag or not?  That's the question many along Okanagan Lake near Vernon,  who were flooded last year, are asking.

Shaun Reimer,  with Public Safety & Protection, says the lake could 30cm be above their target by the end of the week.  He's concerned, not just about the volume of water and the amount of snow that's still up in the hills.  He says the water is coming down so quickly it out strip's their ability to be able to send the water down through Okanagan Lake dam.

Reimer says it is so weather dependent, but those living in low lying areas who've had flooding before may want to plan now.  He says the inflows can fall off dramatically, but it all depends on how hot it is and how much rain we'll get.   Okanagan Lake property owners are encouraged to use sandbags to protect your property and also make sure your dock is secure.  He says we're still a few weeks off, but even a windstorm can result in flooding.

The lake has risen 48.5 centimetres to 343.24 metres in the past week - just 17 centimetres below full pool - and officials say with the hot weather continuing to melt the heavy snowpack, and a chance of showers this week, the lake will likely hit, and exceed, full pool by the weekend.  

He says Kal Lake is in better shape as most of the snowpack feeding Kal is depleted, but it could still be 20cm over target.

Water levels appear to be levelling off in most creeks, streams and rivers, but the Regional District of North Okanagan cautions residents that flood risk is still possible. Looking from the bottom of the valley, visible snow has melted from the upper elevations, but a 50%+ snow pack still remains. With the recent high temperatures, rapid snow melt is still potential for water levels to increase. Weather forecasting for the next three days is calling for 15mm of rain with added expected thunderstorm activity. This could cause an additional 10 mm of rain in local areas.

“Lakes are approaching full levels, so shoreline residents and infrastructure owners need to consider possible protective measures required for their properties”, stated Alastair Crick, Protective Services Manager with the RDNO. “Regardless of the warm weather, we can’t let our guards down yet”.

The Regional District of North Okanagan advises any person working near creeks, streams and rivers to use extreme caution and safety measures. Fast moving water may cause erosion and bank instability.