The major rainstorm forecast to hammer the Okanagan Thursday night didn’t end up centering on the valley, but emergency officials and residents are still preparing for potential flooding.
While the heavy rain didn’t materialize, Okanagan Lake is still rising due to spring runoff and will likely continue to cause problems for homes right along the shore.
“The lake is continuing to rise about 4 cm a day,” emergency operations manager Ron Mattiussi said. “The lake is going to rise. It’s going to rise until mid-June.”
Lake water is expected to make its way onto streets and may even cause ground water to rise in basements right at the waters’ edge intermittently until it stops rising in June.
There are no reports of new flooding throughout the central Okanagan. Emergency officials held a news conference in Kelowna Friday afternoon, saying while it appears the area weathered this latest storm, its not out of the woods yet.
“That’s great news, but what it’s done is brought the threat down from levels that are unprecedented to merely hundred-year levels,” Mattiussi said.
For Kelowna, the biggest focus is on Mill Creek, as it’s lined by numerous homes and has multiple channels throughout. Officials are still building up its banks, in hopes of mitigating any damage should more flooding occur.
“If we get a thunderstorm tonight, we could easily have a breach anywhere in this region,” Mattiussi said.
Residents are breathing a sigh of relief, but still aren’t letting their guard down and many are continuing to sandbag.
Fire officials are continuing to sandbag along McDougall Creek in the Hitchner Road area, as it is a prominent flooding hot spot.
BC Hydro crews are trimming trees in the Powers Creek area as a precaution to avoid damage to area power lines.
City crews, with the help of volunteers and forestry crews, are dropping off sandbags in the Green Bay area, which is right on the water.
In Gellatly Bay, a second row of sandbags are up on Gellatly Road to act as yet another barrier from potential floodwaters from Powers Creek and Okanagan Lake.
Water levels at the creek that runs through Lumby rose about 100 mm overnight, but the creek is still within its banks.
There were no reports of new flooding Thursday night.
Residents and volunteers are still packing sandbags and emergency officials are taking down trees along the creek, so they don’t fall into the water and wash downstream.
Emergency officials are still worried Testalinden Creek, which runs into the Okanagan River, will still breach its banks. An evacuation alert is now in place for 15 properties along the creek.
The addresses affected by the alert are:
Testalinden Place: 511, 545, 555, 579, 583, 589, 598, 599
Golden Mile Drive: 4472, 4444
Highway 97: 4535, 4523, 4522, 4508
Road 15: 308
In Oliver, runoff water from area mountains is creating localized flooding in vineyards and pushing debris into some basements.
The packing house parking lot in Oliver is also flooded.