Rain, warmer temperatures and melting snow.
It’s a trifecta of the spring freshet, now underway in the North Okanagan, prompting residents to be prepared for flooding.
A fourth factor has come into play this year. Properties affected by the 2021 wildfires need to prepare for potentially high runoff in the coming week.
Snow continues to melt in higher elevations and creek levels are fluctuating from increased water flow and periods of rain.
The B.C. River Forecast Centre issued a High Streamflow Advisory June 2 for systems throughout the Southern Interior. The advisory includes the Okanagan and tributaries in Vernon and the surrounding area.
“Although there have only been minor instances of localized flooding reported so far this spring, cooler than normal temperatures in April and May have caused the snowpack to remain longer than normal,” the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) said. “An increase in temperatures or heavy rains could cause the snowmelt to come down quite quickly.”
Residents are reminded to remain vigilant and be cautious near creeks as water levels are expected to continue fluctuating.
“Everyone is encouraged to stay away from creekbanks, particularly with children and pets, and to be aware of potential hazards,” the city of Vernon said.
City crews continue to monitor public infrastructure and water levels along the three major creeks within Vernon’s municipal boundary (upper BX, lower BX, and Vernon Creek). Crews report that water levels have increased in each of the local systems but that all three creeks have additional capacity available.
The city encourages all property owners adjacent to creeks and streams to consider whether they are prepared for rising water levels and what steps they may need to take to mitigate risk and protect their property.
“Property owners are responsible for protecting private property,” said the city.
If flood risk warrants protective works, residents may access sand and sandbags at the City of Vernon operations building, located at 1900-48th Ave. The sand pile and sandbags are located outside the east entrances of the operations yard located on Pleasant Valley Road. Residents are reminded to bring their own shovel to fill sandbags.
Sandbags are available upon request for any resident within an RDNO Electoral Area who requires them to protect their property by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.