March 24, 2018 6:48 pm
Updated: March 24, 2018 7:30 pm

How Lumby, B.C. is preparing as spring flooding hits

With an above-average snowpack and disastrous floods last year, communities around the Okanagan are bracing for the worst as we head into the spring runoff. Jules Knox reports from Lumby, where waters are already seeping into basements and causing concern.

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For one Lumby B.C. resident, the spring flooding season has started with an unwanted lake outside of his home.

For the past three days, Marvin Moore has been running a sump pump, moving an average of 9,500 gallons of water an hour.

“I would think that there’s probably 45,000 gallons of water in this area, and it looks like the pump isn’t really gaining on it,” Moore said.

Lumby mayor Kevin Acton said the flooding was likely due to melting snow.

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“There’s a couple of culverts out there that had been jammed up or mostly closed off, so they’ve cleaned out those culverts and now it should just be draining off,” Acton said. “But it’s going to take some time.”

READ MORE: More Kelowna homes flooded, residents point blame at new construction above

Lumby, which is often among the communities hardest hit, is bracing for more flooding this year.

“We’ve learned a one-in-a-hundred-years flood plain is not a one-in-a-hundred-years flood plain anymore. Weather extremes are going to be part of the norm from what we can tell,” Acton said.

The village is preparing for the worst by ordering nearly 40,000 sandbags and keeping sump pumps on standby.

“It’s a record snow year, it’s early and people are starting to have water problems already,” Acton said. “So if we get a wet, rainy season on top of all the snow…we could be in trouble.”

READ MORE: Flooding closes part of Lower Glenrosa Road in West Kelowna

It is a property owner’s responsibility to protect their residence, Acton added.

“Our public works are ready, and of course the province will send people if we need them. But there is a bit of angst,” he said.

READ MORE: State of emergency declared in Armstrong

After two feet of water in his backyard last year, Kerry Streichart is hoping a new berm will help keep him dry this spring.

“I would say I’m only a couple per cent concerned this year, whereas last year I would say I was only a couple per cent not concerned,” he said.

READ MORE: Flooding shuts down Gellatly Road in West Kelowna

Streichart said he still expected to be filling sandbags in the spring though.

“I think just a lot of people are just holding their breath right now and hoping that they won’t have problems,” he added.

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