Lake levels climbing, assessing wind damage - News Release #72

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 8:49am

Kelowna, B.C. – High winds on overfilled lakes last night caused localized flooding for residences in low lying areas on Central Okanagan lakes.

Emergency crews are out today clearing windfall from streams, inspecting and assessing flood protection measures and infrastructure to determine the top priorities for further action. Residents should be aware of the risk of falling trees within saturated ground conditions near lakes and creeks.

Okanagan Lake rose 4.5 centimetres overnight to a new level of 342.95 metres, five centimetres below its highest recorded level of 343 metres in 1948.

A storm surge phenomenon on lakes, created by high winds pushing a high volume of water in one direction, in addition to wave action on top of the surge, posed a serious threat to property and fortifications.

With wind gusts of up to 70 km/h last night, residents were advised that it was too late to begin sandbagging efforts in these conditions and to instead ensure their own personal safety.

A break in the weather today offers residents a chance to fortify flood protection. With lakes approaching historic volumes, the high water levels are expected to remain well into July. Residents are urged to keep protection in place for the foreseeable future.

A return to warm conditions later this week will speed up the volume of snow melting at the higher elevation watersheds, further boosting creek flows and area lakes to rise.

Boating is not recommended on Central Okanagan lakes as rising levels are moving faster and swells in wind creating more severe conditions. Any boats still on lifts at docks should be removed.

Sandbagging stations are stocked and replenished daily at several locations throughout the Central Okanagan. Volunteers are still welcome at sand piles to help with filling and loading sandbags.  Visit to find the location closest to you.

To check whether a property needs flood protection, go to the Flood FAQs section of, to get directions on how to measure for flood levels and build barriers to the appropriate height to account for both lake level flooding and wave action.

Find information on flood preparation, including sand and sandbag locations, how to effectively build sandbag walls and secure docks at For municipal information such as boat launches, park and beach closures and water quality advisories, visit their websites:

City of Kelowna

City of West Kelowna

District of Lake Country

District of Peachland

Regional District of Central Okanagan

- 30 -

Media Contact:

Information Officer