With possible high winds forecast for the weekend, protection measures have been placed in key areas along the shores of Okanagan Lake to protect public infrastructure.
As of this morning, Okanagan Lake is at 342.69 metres, which is 21 centimetres above full pool. While this is still 57 cm lower than the high water mark of 2017, a severe wind and/or rain event could push water levels higher and lead to flooding and erosion, according to the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations in a news release.
“The situation has stabilized, especially when it comes to the region’s creeks and streams,” says centre director, Jim Zaffino. “However, when it comes to lakeshore areas, the situation is not yet over and we cannot afford to let our guard down.”
People living along the waterfront are urged to take precautions to protect their property. This includes securing docks and boats and installing measures to protect against wave action and prevent erosion. Sand and sandbag locations are available at www.cordemergency.ca/map.
Lakeshore protection measures should stay in place until the centre has announced water levels have receded to the point it is safe to remove them.
As well, debris washed up on beaches should be left for the time being. The logs and other wood will help limit erosion caused by wave action. When the flood risk has passed, officials will provide notification of how the beach debris will be removed, the release said.
Residents who live away from the lakeshore can begin dismantling protection measures they installed on their property as all of the flood warnings and advisories for the Central Okanagan’s creeks and streams have now ended.
Sandbags should be returned to active sandbag sites or designated drop-off locations, with the sand still in the bags. These sites and locations are indicated on the map at www.cordemergency.ca.
Residents dealing with sandbags on their own property should take precautions when working around stagnant water as sandbags that have been sitting in water can contain mould. Residents should wear N95 respirators, nitrile gloves and rubber boots and thoroughly wash hands and clothes after handling the bags.
Under no circumstances should sandbags be emptied into any creeks, lakes, wetland, beaches or other watercourses as outlined in the Water Sustainability Act. The impact can destroy fish habitat and affect drinking water supply, infrastructure, flood control, navigation and recreational activities.
For more information, visit www.cordemergency.ca, sign up for e-updates or call the information line at 250-469-8490.