May 24, 2017 3:08 pm
Updated: May 24, 2017 9:15 pm

‘Mayhem’: Windstorm batters south Okanagan


A windstorm that swept through B.C. hit the Penticton region hard Tuesday night.

Watersport instructor Greg Garward called it utter “mayhem.”

“We use to have a beach here and now we don’t the waves were coming in so hard.”

The overnight windstorm battered Penticton’s waterfront; the force of the waves were so strong they eroded the shoreline and damaged several structures.

Penticton mayor Andrew Jakubeit surveyed the damage to the Kiwanis walking pier Wednesday.

It is closed to the public until further notice because its structural integrity has been compromised.

“Last night’s windstorm was quite severe coupled with the high water that’s already here it caused a fair bit of erosion from that wave action taking place,” said Jakubeit.

Strong winds caused waves so large they breached the bank and crashed into green space leaving a trail of mud and debris near the Lakeside Resort.

Portable dams, installed on Monday, protected shoreline infrastructure.

At the historic SS Sicamous crews physically pulled the historic ship back into place after the storm shifted the bow; it’s now floating in about 12 inches of water.

Officials say the damage was relatively minor, but a sewer line was broken.  It is closed to the public, but expected to reopen Thursday.

There are also flood fears at the Penticton Yaht Club.

Erin Joyce, the owner of a 24-foot Monterey power boat, is worried high water may breach the breakwater which would threaten watercraft moored at the dock.

“Very concerned now, it’s the highest we’ve ever seen it,” he said.

Meanwhile, firefighters tore up the oriental gardens bridge to remove debris jammed up underneath it as Penticton creek rages on.

“We’re trying to stop or help through some of the larger pieces that will start damming up and collecting that debris to where it could be catastrophic or there could be a failure,” said Penticton fire chief Larry Watkinson.

The public is being asked to remain vigilant around flowing water as levels remain at record highs.

Emergency officials say while the storm has passed, the danger certainly has not.


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