Kelowna’s Mission Creek sets water flow record

Heavy rain Wednesday helps creek flow grow to 124 cubic metres of water per second.

The heavy rain in Kelowna earlier this week pushed the volume of water rushing down Mission Creek to historic highs.

According to the the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre, water flows in the creek—the largest tributary to Okanagan Lake—were recorded at 124 cubic metres per second, eclipsing the previous record of 115 cubic metres per second set in 2013. As a comparison, the creek’s flow on Tuesday was 80 cubic metres per second.

But by Thursday morning the flow had dropped back to between 85 and 90 cubic metres a second range.

Adrian Nieoczym, public information officer with the COEOC, said crews were out in force Thursday inspecting flood mitigation measures along local creeks, including Mission Creek, to make sure they were continuing to hold.

He said there was some localized flooding in areas along Mill Creek but it was mainly walkways and bike paths that were affected.

“All the protection and mitigation measures appear to have held up,” he said, referring to work done after last springs devastating floods, as well mitigation measures taken in anticipation of a repeat this spring.

He said Mission Creek appears to have peaked and is expected to slow down over the next few days depending on the weather. But there is rain and the possibility of thunder storms in the immediate forecast and that could complicate matters.

The level of water in Mission Creek closed part of the popular Mission Creek Greenway recreation corridor Wednesday. The stretch between Hollywood Road and the end of the trail at Field Road is now closed.

Water spilling over the banks of Mill Creek flooded a bike and walking path at Parkinson Recreation Centre. Water also temporarily closed Bulman Road but no evacuation notices or alerts were issued for the area.

Over in West Kelowna, mitigation work, particularly along Powers Creek, also helped head off potential problems exacerbated by the rain.

City spokeswoman Kirsten Jones said while concern remains about the level of the creek where it flows under the bridge on Gellatly Road, work to remove debris from the creek, improvements at the mouth of the creek and a berm built at a sharp bent further up steam all helped minimize the impact of water spilling over the creek’s banks.

“Our line of defence held and that makes us very, very happy,” she said.

West Kelowna already has flood mitigation measures in place including sandbags and bladder dam.

Local states of emergency remain in place for Peachland, West Kelowna, and Kelowna and in the Central Okanagan’s West Electoral Area in the vicinity of Westside Road North from 5625 Westside Road to the regional district boundary.

The local states of emergency allow crews to access private properties so they can proactively place flood protection measures along creeks to protect public infrastructure.

For up-to-date information, including evacuation alerts and orders that remain in place, as well as flood-preparedness resources, sign up for e-updates, visit cordemergency.ca.

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