Wind kicked up waves, knocked down trees

Crews are clearing windfall from streams and inspecting and assessing flood protection measures

Winds kicked up waves Tuesday night causing 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,” said the CORD Emergency officials.

“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 www.cordemergency.ca/map to find the location closest to you.

To check whether a property needs flood protection, go to the Flood FAQs section of www.cordemergency.ca/beprepared, 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 www.cordemergency.ca/beprepared/flood-faq. For municipal information such as boat launches, park and beach closures and water quality advisories, visit their websites:

 

Kelowna beaches are seeing diking reinforcement to protect against an overflowing Okanagan Lake in the weeks ahead. - Image Credit: Contributed