Kelowna, B.C. residents monitoring water levels on Mission Creek after heavy rain

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Kelowna residents monitoring Mission Creek – Jul 4, 2022

Many in Kelowna, B.C.,  are keeping a close eye on Mission Creek, after heavy rainfall on Sunday and into Monday led to the B.C. River Forecast Centre issuing a flood watch for the waterway.

So far, July in the Okanagan has been wet. The Southern Interior has received 10 to 20 mm of precipitation since Sunday, which led to the flood watch.

“It’s a combination of course of the rain that occurred yesterday and then the potential for rain to occur over the next few days,” said hydrologist with the B.C. River Forecast Centre, Jonathan Boyd.

Read more: Mission Creek on flood watch following heavy rainfall

Mission Creek is the largest tributary that feeds Okanagan Lake. The recent rainfall is also having an impact on lake levels.

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“This rainfall event that occurred late yesterday did push the lake up another centimetre again,” said Boyd.

“Again, that compared to having it drop a couple of centimetres recently as well. The likelihood is that we’re probably nearing the peak for the lake for the season.

Read more: Body of missing Kelowna, B.C. woman found: RCMP

Despite the risk of flooding in some areas, the unseasonal amount of precipitation is good news for our forests at a time when the province would typically have all hands on deck for forest fire season.

“The B.C. drought technical working group did meet for the first time last week, and it was across the board. Everywhere was ranked at zero, ranking from zero to level 5,” said Boyd.

“That’s the first time I can remember that no area for the province at this point in the year was at any concern of drought.”

Read more: Okanagan rain delaying cherry harvest, farmers say

One woman whose yard backs onto Mission Creek in Rutland says she isn’t worried yet, but she’s keeping a close eye on the situation.

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“This year it’s been much higher and for a longer period of time than any other year that I’ve lived here,” said Fatima Akehurst.

Typically, Akehurst says she enjoys a small sandy beach in her backyard, but she hasn’t been able to use it at all this year.

Read more: Mission Creek bursts its banks after heavy rain

“In July last year as well when we had the hot 40-degree weather, we were actually sitting in the creek and had to make little pools because the water was so low,” described Akehurst.

“This year, it’s very high and consistently high, going up and down every time it rains.”

The public is being asked to stay clear of Mission Creek during the flood watch, but there is some reprieve coming in the forecast.

Read more: Okanagan weather: Severe storm threat subsides late Monday, drier weather ahead

“In the long-range forecast looking ahead, we aren’t expecting any major amounts of moisture,” explained Peter Quinlan, Global News meteorologist.

“We could see some scattered, stray sprinkles but I don’t expect that to be affecting water levels too significantly. So really the concern was the moisture that we had through the day Sunday into the day on Monday.”

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The River Forecast Centre will continue to monitor the situation and updating advisories as the weather conditions change.

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