Spring freshet preparations – a seasonal reality

Friday, April 16, 2021 - 10:40am

Now that we’ve officially sprung into spring, here’s a seasonal reality check from your Central Okanagan Regional Emergency Program.

For some residents across the region, it’s time to protect their properties from the potential damage of high water and flooding.

With warmer temperatures and spring showers, the snowpack in the valley will begin melting, increasing flows and levels of our water bodies.  Anyone living near creeks, streams and lakes experiencing issues with flooding in the past should be making their annual emergency preparations.

Emergency Program Coordinator Sandra Follack reminds property owners that they are responsible for having a flood protection plan along with the tools and equipment to protect from possible flood damage.

She says, “Throughout the annual spring runoff, local governments and the BC Ministry of Environment are monitoring water levels and weather conditions.  If needed, advisories, watches and warnings will be issued.”

Follack adds, “The Regional Emergency Program is here to help. The ‘Be Prepared’ page on cordemergency.ca has links to information about flood preparedness including a recommended method for sandbag diking. The website also provides information for what property owners should consider in areas that might be susceptible to land slippage or movement.”

Later in the spring, stockpiles of sandbags will be available at local fire halls throughout the Central Okanagan for those protecting their properties. As the freshet season progresses, local governments will provide information on their sandbag locations and availability.  A reminder for everyone that during the COVID-19 pandemic, anyone filling sandbags should keep a safe physical distance from others. Depending on the flood threat, property owners may be responsible for providing their own sand to fill the bags.

In the event of an emergency and activation of the Central Okanagan Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), the latest information will be available online at cordemergency.ca and via Facebook (facebook.com/CORDEmergency) and Twitter (twitter.com/CO_Emerg). Central Okanagan residents are encouraged to sign up for the ‘Central Okanagan Emergencies’ email updates to receive notifications from the Emergency Program.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) Emergency Program is coordinated by the Kelowna Fire Department on behalf of the RDCO, the cities of Kelowna and West Kelowna, districts of Lake Country and Peachland and Westbank First Nation.