With a severe thunderstorm in the forecast Wednesday, the City of Vernon encourages residents to prepare as lake levels continue to rise. (Morning Star file photo)

City of Vernon urges preparedness

Severe thunderstorm forecast for North Okanagan region

Environment Canada has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the North Okanagan, Central Okanagan and South Okanagan, which could include thunderstorms, strong winds, hail and heavy rain.

This risk has the potential to increase Okanagan Lake levels another 10 centimetres overall. The lake is not expected to peak until mid-June.

“The City of Vernon is monitoring the lake levels in order to take steps to protect infrastructure, and Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) staff are on standby,” said city communications manager Tanya Laing Gahr.

“Residents near lakes and stream and in low-lying areas are urged to take precautions to protect their property in the case of overland flooding.”

Sand and sandbags are available at:

*Outside Operations main entrance off of Pleasant Valley Road;

*4005 Pleasant Valley Road;

*Corner of Okanagan Avenue and Okanagan Landing Road (across from Marshall Field);

*Okanagan Hills Boulevard and Bella Vista Road intersection (entrance to The Rise community);

*8974 Okanagan Landing Road.

“These stocks are replenished regularly,” said Laing Gahr. “Residents are reminded to keep all flood-protection measures in place until the threat of flooding has passed.”

With the lake levels at historic highs, environmental and health risks should also be considered.

The city would like to remind parents to keep children out of dirty shallow water to prevent any health risks posed by standing water. Pets should be prevented from drinking this water as well.

Boat owners are discouraged from using the lake at this point, as boat wakes can cause lakeshore erosion or flooding of properties. Boaters should also be aware that wood debris floating under the surface of the lake could cause damage or injury.

For more information, please visit www.vernon.ca/emergency.