Flood Watch: Monitoring Lake Levels, Evaluating Evacuations - News Release #54

Monday, May 15, 2017 - 11:26am

Attention is shifting to Okanagan Lake levels, as unstable weather remains in the forecast and considerable amounts of upper level snowpack have yet to melt.


As of late Sunday afternoon, Okanagan Lake was measured at 342.65 metres, or 17 centimetres above full pool – 35 centimetres below the flood mark. If water reaches the 343.0 metre level, low lying areas adjacent to the lake will flood and creeks such as Mission and Mill will begin to backflow causing them to potentially spill their banks.


Lake level flood watch maps have been posted at www.cordemergency.ca/map. Residents living in the pink areas of these maps should be prepared for potential flooding.


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 in the coming days and weeks. While officials hope for the best, preparations for flooding are ongoing. Emergency officials are considering plans for the possible deployment of portable bladder dams to act as protective flood barriers as needed.


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.


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


The existing evacuation orders and alerts remain in effect, affecting approximately 400 people in the south end of Wood Lake in the District of Lake Country, Okanagan Indian Band Reserve No. 7 at the north end of Ellison/Duck lake and the Kilkenny Place area in the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area. Conditions in these areas are being continually monitored and evaluated.


The Emergency Social Services Reception Centre at the Salvation Army at Sutherland and Burtch Avenues 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.


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. Updates information and maps will be posted to www.cordemergency.ca.