Residents in West Kelowna’s Green Bay Mobile Home Park are breathing a sigh of relief. For the first time in three weeks, floodwaters have started to subside.
Their homes are situated along a canal that feeds from Okanagan Lake. The canal burst its banks nearly three weeks ago as the lake continued to rise.
A dam was put in place at the mouth of the canal Thursday to block the lake, but some water still managed to seep through.
After more than a day sealing up leaks, the dam is now doing its job and the canal has dropped upwards of five inches, according to West Kelowna public works manager Chris Anderson.
Just outside the mobile home park, many homes are also along a bay that feeds into the lake.
City crews, forestry workers and homeowners have built sandbag walls upwards of four feet high over the past three weeks. Those walls were reinforced with another 5,000 sandbags this weekend.
“We’re holding the lake back upwards of three-and-a-half to four feet [of lake water] right now,” Anderson said.
Sunday was an “ideal day” for the flood fight according to emergency officials. It wasn’t too warm, about 20 C, and there was no rain. But the Okanagan is expected to heat up by mid-week. Environment Canada is forecasting highs reaching 30 C.
There is still 50 per cent of the snow pack on area mountains, which means there is still a lot more spring runoff before this flood fight is over.
The province is now forecasting Okanagan Lake could rise to a metre above full pool, which is another 27 centimetres, before reaching its peak.
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