Flood Watch: Evaluating Risks, Recognizing Crews - News Release #53

Sunday, May 14, 2017 - 4:55pm

Kelowna, B.C – The flood watch continues in the Central Okanagan as creeks remain high and Okanagan Lake remains above full pool, with rain remaining in the forecast and melting upper elevation snowpacks still expected to contribute to rising lake levels.

All existing sandbags should be kept in place. Lakeside residents should keep debris in place along the shore to barricade against rising waters and wave activity and guard against erosion.

All existing evacuation orders and alerts, affecting approximately 400 people, remain in place. The Emergency Social Services reception centre at the Salvation Army at Sutherland Avenue and Burtch Road in Kelowna will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, May 15 to assist those who remain on evacuation order and those who require extended assistance. Emergency officials are constantly assessing possible changes in the status of remaining evacuation orders and alerts based on a variety of conditions including weather and the impact it has on lake water levels, which are continuing to rise, and levels and flows of area creeks. A list of orders and alerts are posted at www.cordemergency.ca.

Emergency officials continue to conduct advance planning and prepare models for possible lake effect flooding, should Okanagan Lake exceed the 343 metre mark. Maps showing possible flooding areas near the lake have been posted at www.cordemergency.ca/maps.

At last report early Sunday afternoon, Okanagan Lake was at 342.65 metres, or 35 centimetres below the flood mark. The hope is that normal temperatures with little to no precipitation will prevail, creating a more gradual filling of the lake, to allow time for water to drain. While officials hope for the best, preparations for the worst are ongoing. For example, portable bladder dams are in stock and can be quickly put in place to help form protective barriers.

Residents in the flood advisory areas identified in the maps should move things up from basements and crawl spaces and be prepared to leave their homes if flooding should occur. Go to www.getprepared.ca for tips on creating a 72-hour emergency kit, and for a list of things to have ready should you be asked to leave at a moment’s notice.

Boaters are reminded that lake levels are high and they should watch for floating debris as a significant amount has been flowing downstream into area lakes. Boaters should also keep their distance from shorelines and if possible keep speeds down as additional wave action could cause disturbance to banks and beaches.

Officials continue to assess the slide site that is affecting 17 properties on evacuation order below Kilkenny Place in the Killiney Beach subdivision of the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area. Mitigation efforts will begin as early as Monday.

The Province of British Columbia’s Emergency Management website offers helpful information on protecting your property from, and recognizing the danger signs of landslides. Visit:

Thanks goes out to all municipal crews, BC Wildfire Service personnel, Emergency Support Service and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue volunteers and local residents, businesses and community groups that have come together to help in this time of need.

Unless conditions change, updates will be posted daily at 11 a.m.