Sandbags on a sunny Kelowna street near Mill Creek now look out of place, but 24 hours ago, it was a very different story.
When Mill Creek breached its banks early Thursday morning, water flooded into the streets and in some cases, people’s homes.
Residents are relieved that the waters have receded and continue to dry out their belongings and assess any damage.
“The sun’s out, and everything’s drying off,” area resident Jason Marzinzik said.
“We’re trying to rest and recuperate. It was a long day yesterday.”
Marzinzik said he spend a lot of time pumping water, but he was able to keep it out of his house.
Local resident Gilles Senecal said that when the flooding happened, it was a struggle to escape the building and quickly move cars as the parking lot rapidly flooded.
While the ground floor of his apartment building is now drying out, Senecal said the belongings in his storage locker have been destroyed.
“I can only speak for myself, but mine is garbage,” he said.
While many residents said Thursday’s sudden flood caused flashbacks to severe flooding in 2017, for the most part, they believe it wasn’t quite as bad.
“The 2017 floods lasted a lot longer, and so it allowed the groundwater table to rise, and that actually caused some leakage into my basement, so it was worse then,” Marzinzik said.
However, an apartment building on Sutherland was hit hard by the most recent flood, according to its property manager.
“The water level in the building is higher than three years ago. It’s more significant by far,” property manager Paul Benson said.
TJ Kyle, a tenant in a ground-floor apartment, described throwing his belongings out the window Thursday morning after a neighbour warned him that the water level was rising.
“He woke us up, like, ‘Hey, you have to move your stuff right away as quick as you can, because I can see the water’s coming in,’” Kyle said.
“It’s just like an adrenaline rush,” he added.
Kyle’s place, which had several inches of water in it on Thursday, has now been drained and is drying out.
The city said the flooding was caused by heavy rain and debris blocking the creek.
“The risk remains low for widespread flooding; however, localized flooding is still possible in the event of heavy rain,” said Alan Newcombe, City of Kelowna’s infrastructure director.
Because it doesn’t want the public to be at risk, the city is asking residents to refrain from removing debris from creeks.