The City of Vernon is continuing its regular, annual preparations for the spring freshet season as the weather continues to warm and occasional rainfall drops in the North Okanagan.
City crews are actively monitoring creek levels and provincial snowpack reports for the local area, and checking city infrastructure that could be impacted by increased water levels such as roads, culverts, outfalls, bridges, and storm retention structures.
“Utility crews have removed sediment from the two sediment basins located on BX Creek as part of our usual freshet preparation work,” said Sean Irwin, utilities manager.
“The city is closely monitoring the weather and snow melt conditions in higher elevations. The water level and creek flow has started to increase along upper and lower BX Creeks. Vernon Creek is controlled by the province at the gates on Kalamalka Lake. The gates haven’t been opened yet due to the low levels on the lake, so we are at a greatly reduced flow compared to last year. At this time, all three creeks have additional capacity available.”
Weather is a factor in freshet said Sue Saunders, emergency program coordinator.
“Sudden and prolonged warm spells or heavy rainfall at this time of year, can tip the potential for flooding,” she said. “Therefore, the city encourages all property owners adjacent to creeks to closely and regularly monitor their properties and consider whether they are prepared for the potential of changing conditions.”
Private property owners are reminded they are responsible for protecting their property from flood and flood-related risks, as indicated in the city’s Streamside Maintenance Policy. If flood risk warrants protective works, residents may access sand and sandbags at the City of Vernon Operations building, located at 1900-48th Avenue. The sand pile and sand bags are located outside the east entrance to the operations yard located on Pleasant Valley Road. Residents are reminded to bring their own shovel to fill sandbags.
For more information from the BC River Forecast Centre regarding spring freshet and snow conditions, please visit the province’s website. And for additional information to help prepare yourself, your family, and your property for freshet, please visit PreparedBC.
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